40 years of innovation

The University has celebrated 40 years of success in research and commercialisation.

Edinburgh Research and Innovation 1969 - 2009

A research and commercialisation arm - 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.


Our commercialisation successes have been many and vital. But those successes are not only in the past; we are also looking very much to the future.

Derek WaddellChief Executive of Edinburgh Research and Innovation

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.


To commemorate these accomplishments, a 40th anniversary celebration was held at the Playfair Library.

It was attended by staff and students, representatives from companies created through the University, and the Chancellor, HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Attendees viewed exhibits detailing the University's range of achievements, while the event also highlighted initiatives to help budding entrepreneurs.

ERI runs programmes specifically targeted at helping students and staff get their business ideas off the ground, while its Edinburgh Pre-Incubator Scheme (EPIS) assists people not affiliated with the University.

Video report

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

Unknown element of type: mediaStream found

Driving economy

The University continues to have an enormous impact on the Scottish and UK economies by continuing to develop new business initiatives.

In the last financial year, the University was awarded a record £249 million to fund its research.

That investment supports work across a range of disciplines, including medicine, veterinary medicine, science, engineering and the humanities.

The University is making a major contribution to the economy through this important work. It is vital that staff and students have a route forward through which they can develop their commercial enterprises.

Professor Sir Timothy O'SheaPrincipal of the University

New ventures

Meanwhile, University staff or students created a total of 26 new companies, the highest number formed in one year by a Scottish university. The firms include:

  • Rev Drive, whose revolutionary bicycle gearbox won the 2009 Scottish Institute for Enterprise New Ventures competition.
  • Hoodeasy, a custom clothing company that finished second in the same contest.