News

Edinburgh sets company formation record

The University has set a record for the number of companies created in an academic year.

Some 40 firms were created in 2009-2010, the most generated by a Scottish university in a single year. In 2008-2009, 26 companies were created.

The development strengthens the University’s position as Scotland's leading research institution.

In the past five years, the University has formed 131 companies, which together employ more than 300 staff.

The quality of the companies created is at a higher level than ever. This is testament to the entrepreneurship and creativity of the University’s staff and students.

Derek WaddellChief Executive Officer, Edinburgh Research and Innovation

In pictures

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HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and University Chancellor, with Derek Douglas and Markus Mueller of NGenTec
Ben Schögler of Skoogmusic showing how to play the Skoog, a new musical instrument that can be played by all
Mike Russell, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education, with the PufferSphere, a spherical display system developed by university firm Pufferfish

New companies

Firms created by Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) - the university’s commercialisation arm - include:

  • NGenTec, which produces lightweight generators for wind turbines, potentially making wind power generation more efficient
  • Actual Analytics, which uses video analysis technology to help develop drugs for diseases of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Skoogmusic, which develops musical instruments for disabled children

The 40 firms formed in the past year have together secured more than £3 million in funding.

Several of the new firms present real promise not only to contribute positively to the Scottish economy, but also to become globally significant – potentially helping to generate further economic growth and jobs.

Derek WaddellChief Executive Officer, Edinburgh Research and Innovation

Video report

Watch a video from the celebration of the 40th anniversary of ERI, with University staff explaining how they help make business ideas become reality.

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Long history

A research and commercialisation group - now known as Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) - was first created at the University in 1969.

Since that time, the University has had great success at turning the business ideas of students and staff into reality.

The University's achievements include:

  • Developing the first genetically engineered vaccine against Hepatitis B
  • Creating the Smart Wheelchair for children with severe disabilities
  • Pioneering the use of amniotic fluid tests in pregnancy to detect birth defects

Major companies spun out from the University include:

  • Wolfson Microelectronics, a leading supplier of electronic components to Apple
  • MTEM, an oil surveyor - the largest firm created from a Scottish university.

Photography credits: Maverick Photo Agency, Sandy Young Photography, Peter Tuffy, The University of Edinburgh.