Andrea Taylor named Head of Major Projects at Edinburgh Innovations

Andrea Taylor

Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, has named Dr Andrea Taylor as its new Head of Major Projects.

Dr Taylor will lead Edinburgh Innovations’ Major Projects team, which focuses on developing the University’s long-term strategic relationships with commercial partners and securing large funding awards for industrial collaborations.

She will also develop and manage cross-University projects and lead Edinburgh Innovations’ foresighting work, steering the University’s industry engagement activities and forecasting trends in order to match University expertise with industry’s needs.

Dr Taylor has led EI’s Business Development team serving the University’s College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine (CMVM) since 2017, during which time she has overseen a transformation in commercialisation stemming from the College.

This includes a string of therapeutics spinout company launches, based on University research, aiming to tackle some of medicine’s biggest challenges and launched with substantial funding by prestigious investment companies. And funding awards for research collaborations between the University and industrial partners have reached new highs over each of the past three years, and are on course to set a new record this year.

Recent successes include helping to secure the launch in May by Evotec and Bristol Myers Squibb of BeLAB1407, with funding of $20 million, to advance drug discovery opportunities and encourage new spinouts from the Universities of Edinburgh, Birmingham, Dundee and Nottingham. 

And in April she won the Hidden Hero award in the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2021.

Dr Taylor said: “The progress we’ve made at CMVM reflects the strength of the team at EI, the entrepreneurial spirit of the University’s researchers and the eagerness for industrial partners and the University to innovate together for mutual benefit.

“The Major Projects team has the same ingredients in place, including a team of EI colleagues with a breadth and depth of specialist expertise, so I look forward to helping develop the pipeline of major partnerships, funding and projects that is reflective of the increasing ambition of EI and the University.”

The Major Projects team will look to build on recent successes, which include the establishment of the Advanced Care Research Centre in 2020 with a £20 million award from Legal & General, the UK’s largest pension fund investor.

This month the team helped Blackwood Homes and Care win a major funding award from UK Research and Innovation as part of the ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge, for a £12.5 million project to help older people live at home for longer and with greater independence.

Dr George Baxter, CEO of Edinburgh Innovations, said:  “Edinburgh is among the highest ranking UK universities for industry engagement, and as commercial partnerships become ever-more important across the sector, we want to take our Major Projects work to the next level. 

“I’m delighted that Andrea will lead this important activity, and I know there’s no-one better placed to help us fulfil that ambition, which will ultimately lead to benefits for the economy and society.”

Dr Taylor will begin her new role on 1 August 2021.

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