" /> Projects Archive - Edinburgh Innovations
Re-thinking the circular economy

Re-thinking the circular economy

Re-thinking the circular economy

Case Study
fish farm

Re-thinking the circular economy

 

Early thinking about the circular economy envisaged manufacturing value chains where products were repaired to extend their useful lifespan and all materials finally recycled.

A circular bioeconomy system is more powerful and flexible, using the transformative capabilities of plants, animals and micro-organisms. They are more flexible as they can work at low temperatures, or use a variety of energy sources, to manufacture complex materials, some of which are impossible to make using non-biological processes.

Two recent projects at the Innogen Institute in the aquaculture industry sector are showing how new bio-materials, Proton™ and fish feed, can deliver both climate change (Net Zero) and biodiversity protection (UN Sustainable Development Goals). The Institute’s approach is to develop these new materials in tandem with new societal and environmental policies needed to support the bioeconomy.

“We are asking how you can get the best of all possible worlds, which of the many opportunities will offer optimal benefits and fewest disadvantages, and what kinds of policy support will be needed to deliver them.”

Professor Joyce Tait, Co-Director, Innogen Institute, The University of Edinburgh.

 

Fish Farming in Scotland: optimising its contribution to climate and environmental policies

The production of protein for human consumption from cattle and sheep is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly methane, and a shift to fish-based products would be an important contribution to Net Zero carbon emissions. However, less than 10% of wild fish stocks are currently under-fished, the rest being maximally exploited or over-exploited and unsustainable, so expansion in fish consumption will need to come from farmed species. For example, Scottish farmed salmon production is projected to rise six-fold by 2030. The biggest contribution to Net Zero policies would come from this switch in value chains from beef and sheep to aquaculture.

Within aquaculture, fish feed accounts for over 90% of the sector’s GHG emissions and, at 40-75% of total production cost, is the most expensive component of aquaculture production. Innovation in feed production, introducing a circular economy approach, can therefore deliver the biggest contributions from fish farming to biodiversity and climate change goals by replacing either wild-caught fish (with its negative biodiversity impacts) or vegetable sources like soya (with both biodiversity and climate change impacts).
New fish feed products in development at the Innogen Institute include insect larvae, micro-algae, and single-celled protein (SCP), all produced using waste materials or by-products from other industry sectors (non-domestic food waste, by-products from the whisky industry, methane gas), contributing to several circular economy value chains.

Sustainable protein feed development: Proton™

One alternative feed source for fish and chickens is Proton™, produced by fermentation based on carbon dioxide (a by-product from bio-energy generation) and hydrogen. As well as contributing to a circular economy, this process avoids the use of starches and sugars in the fermentation process with a 90% saving on carbon footprint, reducing the related impacts on GHG emissions, land use, biodiversity, and food availability for human use.

This project is an example of companies collaborating to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and improvements in biodiversity impacts, involving companies at all stages along the value chain, from raw materials for fish feed production to supermarkets selling fish products to consumers.

The Innogen Institute’s role is to support responsible innovation by the companies involved, help them to demonstrate the social, environmental and biodiversity benefits of Proton™ and encourage consumer acceptance.

Discover how we can help you develop innovative ideas to deliver solutions to society’s problemsContact us

Related links

Future Proof with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Innogen Institute

 

Photo by Mikhail Preobrazhenskiy on Unsplash

 

 

Contact us to find out how we can help

Wargames

Wargames

Wargames

Case Study
Dr Gianluca Raccagni

Rolling the dice on engaging with industry opened up new creative possibilities for one history lecturer’s research and teaching.

A booming market missing a trick

 Analysts expect the global tabletop games market will be worth more than $12 billion USD by 2023. The growing popularity of war and strategy games that draw on history in their storytelling is a key area of this growing market, and has inspired hundreds of new game clubs to open across the UK. While this flourishing market has the potential to shape the public’s understanding of historical events through play, the perception of an inevitable trade-off between accuracy and playability, and a lack of familiarity with available research among game developers have been barriers to progress. Dr Gianluca Raccagni, Lecturer in Medieval History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, saw this as a missed opportunity and so he took on the challenge by collaborating with game designers to produce wargames inspired by his own academic research.

Industry collaborations: well played

Keen to find a way to combine his academic expertise and a lifelong interest in tabletop games, Dr Raccagni visited local gaming clubs where he could play with other enthusiasts and meet with game designers to share ideas. Speaking with Michael Scot from Supreme Littleness Designs (SLD) at a gaming event, the pair agreed there was an opportunity to develop more historically accurate terrain and building models that form a vital part of the gaming experience. SLD and Dr Raccagni collaborated on the prototype of a terrain kit modelled on the Castle of Byblos. The kit – the first historically-accurate one to represent any part of the Mediterranean region – was showcased in a participative game at Claymore, Scotland’s leading wargames convention, in 2018. This successful showcase led to world-leading wargame terrain kit producer 4ground agreeing to licence SLD’s models, including Byblos Castle, for international distribution later in 2021.

The Claymore showcase also led game designer Dan Mersey – winner of UK Games Expo Award 2019 – to ask for Dr Raccagni’s help in developing a new expansion for Lion Rampant, one of the most popular sets of gaming rules in this sector of the games industry. Dr Raccagni collaborated with Mersey to create a game book comprising an introductory chapter providing general historical context; additional rules, and twelve game scenarios drawing from medieval sources and Dr Raccagni’s own research. The end result, Lion Rampant: Crusader States (LRCS) has been a commercial and critical success, reprinting three times in its first three months post-publication and receiving glowing industry reviews.

Next Moves

While at first Dr Raccagni brought his academic knowledge to bear on the tabletop games he loves to play, his passion has in turn come to have a significant influence on his academic interests and teaching. He has created a new pathway for MSc in History students, which explores the emerging field of Historical Games Studies, and a forthcoming postgraduate course on historical games design will be taught in collaboration with the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Inspired by his successful collaborations with game design professionals, in 2020 Dr Raccagni established the History & Games Lab (H&GL), a one-of-a-kind research group and game design studio within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology that explores games as a medium for historical research, teaching, and public understanding of history.

With the support of Edinburgh Innovations (EI), Dr Raccagni was able to self-publish LRCS through the H&GL, which in turn helps the research group fund its other activities, which include seminars, podcasts and workshops, EI’s support equipped Dr Raccagni with a new set of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge about IP, contractual relationships and licensing that he can now put into practice as the H&GL expands its commercial output. Plans are already afoot, with its next game scheduled to launch in Autumn 2021. 

“During my PhD and post-doc, no one talked about impact or engagement. I’m pleased to see the support and opportunities for early-stage academics to work with industry have grown significantly. It’s a hugely rewarding experience which can give young scholars new outlets to be creative and grow professionally.”

Dr Gianluca Raccagni

 

 

Discover how we can help you develop innovative ideas to deliver solutions to society’s problemsContact us

Related links

Future Proof with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

The History & Games Lab

Supreme Littleness Designs

 

Contact us to find out how we can help

DAINTech

DAINTech

DAINTech

DAINTech: A novel, stable, sustainable approach to formulation.

DAINTech is an innovative new gel phase formulation chassis technology which offers long-term stability; unique and beneficial flow characteristics; and is ecologically responsible due to the absence of synthetic polymers. 

APPLICATION

  • Personal care
  • Coatings and paints
  • Speciality chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals

DEVELOPMENT STATUS

Demonstration using various industrial colloids at kg-scale

IP STATUS

Priority patent application filed 2019 (PCT WO2020254813)

COMMERCIAL OFFERING

Commercial licensing and/or co-development

OPPORTUNITY


University of Edinburgh researchers have developed DAINTech, a new gel-phase formulation chassis technology. The DAINTech technology provides a route to stable formulations with appealing sensory aspects using established and cost-effective industrial materials, and without the use of polymer or microplastic elements. It also offers an alternative potential solution to formulate otherwise challenging ingredients. The platform technology is expected to be broadly applicable to a wide range of industry applications and gives commercial partners the opportunity to implement innovative, environmentally sustainable and commercially valuable formulation products as part of their product development process.

TECHNOLOGY


The DAINTech technology is based on the dispersion of particles within a nematic phase. Resulting defect lines form within the dispersion connect and entangle throughout the nematic phase creating a gel phase capable of carrying a dispersed phase of 20% to 45% by volume. The DAINTech technology has been demonstrated with a host of industrial colloids, including spheriglass 3000, spheriglass 5000, titania, calcite, cornflour and sunflower oil in lyotropic nematic phases.

The resulting DAINTech formulations are highly viscoelastic, physically stable, and can be water or oil based. The viscoelasticity of the system is tuneable over several magnitudes to provide long-term stability against phase separation and coalescence. The DAINTech systems are also exceptionally shear-thinning with a much lower exponent of apparent viscosity than conventional formulation chassis.

Notably when the gel phase yields, the viscosity approaches that of the background nematic phase; then when shear is removed the structure and magnitude of the yield stress is recovered within seconds.

BENEFITS


  • Long-term stability, even with dense particles
  • Aqueous & non-aqueous compatible
  • Compatible with standard processing equipment and commonly used ingredients
  • Reduced dependence on synthetic polymers and microplastics

 

PUBLICATIONS


Wood et al (2011) Self-quenched defect glass in a colloid-nematic liquid crystal composite, Science, 334 (6052), 79-83.

Katyan et al 2021) The yielding of defect-entangled dispersions in a nematic solvent, Journal of Rheology, accepted / in press.

 

Contact

Angus Stewart-Liddon

Technology Transfer Manager
Edinburgh Innovations Ltd

+44 (0)131 650 9090
angus.stewart-liddon@ei.ed.ac.uk

 

 

Please note: header image is purely illustrative. Source: Tanya Dolmatova via Getty Images

Edi the Bear – Helping Children Understand Personal Data

Edi the Bear – Helping Children Understand Personal Data

Edi the Bear – Helping Children Understand Personal Data

Case Study
Edi the Bear

Edi the Bear – Helping Children Understand Personal Data

As any worried parent knows, it is often difficult to gauge the benefits and risks of new data technologies for children.

Regardless of this, more and more we are seeing companies, and academics, using children’s personal data. This is intended to benefit children – to help make them safer, healthier, fitter, smarter or perhaps to just have more fun. But if children do not understand how their data is being used, or even what the concept of ‘personal data’ means, how can they consent to others taking it?

The Children and Technology group at the University of Edinburgh is addressing these important questions by researching what children understand about personal data and what we can do to help them.

To start, the group carried out a theoretical examination of what age children might begin to understand the concept of personal data. This work suggested that, when represented immediately and clearly, children as young as three years old could learn to understand how their interactions (e.g., how much they move) could be captured and communicated to others to tell something about them, and even be used toward identifying them from amongst others (e.g., as the person who was moving around a lot yesterday lunchtime).

Next, with help of Edinburgh Future’s funding, we explored the potential to design ways to support young children’s understanding of personal data. For this project, we created a prototype soft toy, called ‘Edi the Bear’, with embedded sensors that could detect basic information, including what angle the bear was placed, how much it moved, how hard its hand was being squeezed, whether it had been placed in a toy bed, or even how many people were nearby.

This data was represented in real-time with images or simple bar charts on a nearby wirelessly connected device. Although prototype testing was limited to only 5 children aged 2-7 years (due to Covid and robustness of the prototype), this was sufficient to validate not just children’s interest in the data, but their understanding that it represented their personal interactions. Despite the testing sessions being short, a couple of older children were further able to articulate how recordings of their data representations could tell others about them or even identify them. We see this understanding as core to children then being encouraged to consider whom they would or would not to share this information with.

The Children and Technology group’s next steps are to use this pilot work to apply for more significant funding to comprehensively investigate the development of young children’s understanding of personal data, and what designs and pedagogy can support learning. Working with partners, we will extend and evaluate the potential to design ways to help younger children, exploring the boundaries of making personal data understanding accessible for all.

As we plan these next stages, we would love to collaborate with interested organisations, particularly those with a responsibility for making understanding data as accessible as possible, to work out our next steps. We would love to know what you think children can and should know about personal data, and examples/experiences on how they can be helped.

This is why I’m delighted to be highlighting this research as part of the Future Proof campaign jointly organised by Edinburgh Innovations, the university’s commercialisation service and the University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Future Proof campaign is one way you can discover more about our teams, track record and process of co-creation at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

It shows how we will work together with you to understand the needs of your organisation and co-create targeted solutions to help it thrive for the long term – to Future Proof it.

 

Dr Andrew Manches
Director of Children and Technology group
Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer in Learning Sciences
Associate Director, Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

Discover how we can help you develop innovative ideas to deliver solutions to society’s problemsContact us

Related links

Future Proof with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Children and Technology Group at the University of Edinburgh

Full report on Edi the Bear Pilot Study by Andrew Manches and Lydia Plowman

Contact us to find out how we can help

Scottish Games Network

Scottish Games Network

The future of Scotland is all fun and games

Case Study
Brian Baglow

The future of Scotland is all fun and games

Brian Baglow is a writer, games designer, and founder of the Scottish Games Network, the industry body for the video games sector in Scotland.

Scottish Games Network supports Scotland’s gaming industry to connect to other sectors and regions, promoting interactive media as a transformative technology. Covering academia, business, culture and consumer issues, the Scottish Games Network is a focal point and community for the issues affecting the games industry.

Brian was awarded Connected Innovators funding through the Creative Informatics programme to undertake research into Scotland’s games sector, mapping out the companies and individuals that make up the country’s games industry, as well as current opportunities for funding, development and growth.

This research provides valuable insight into the size, the scope and the most common business practices of the games sector in Scotland. It also highlights key challenges and opportunities for the sector to engage more strategically with the wider creative industries.

‘The global games market is larger than any other entertainment or tech sector. The tools and technologies from the world of gaming are now becoming the de facto standard for so many other areas of our creative world. Thanks to support from Creative Informatics, we are now able to go out and lobby the Scottish government to support the creation of a video games industry cluster; an ecosystem including academia, large studios to solo practitioners, education, public sector and government itself. We now stand a good chance of making Scotland one of the best places in the world to make video games, with a strong and pioneering games industry’.

Brian Baglow, Founder and Director, Scottish Games Network

 

Discover how we can help you develop innovative ideas to deliver solutions to society’s problemsContact us

Related links

Future Proof with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Creative Informatics

Scottish Games Network

Connected Innovators

Contact us to find out how we can help