A WOMAN who has transformed commercialisation of medical research at the University of Edinburgh has been named Knowledge Exchange Hero 2021 in the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.
Dr Andrea Taylor heads the medicine and veterinary medicine team at Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service.
The pace of commercialisation at the University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine has grown rapidly under Dr Taylor’s leadership over the past three years.
For example, there have been five new therapeutics spinout companies from the college based on University research over the past 18 months, 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 have continued to grow over the first eight months of the current year.
The one-team approach between the College and Edinburgh Innovations that Dr Taylor has championed has led to a greater culture of innovation, with early career researchers supported through new programmes of training and development, significant increase in industry outreach and a broadening of the relationships developed.
“It’s an honour to accept this award which reflects the dedication of our excellent team at Edinburgh Innovations and the entrepreneurial talents of the University’s leading researchers,” said Dr Taylor.
Dr Taylor has led multiple initiatives at Edinburgh Innovations to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture among University researchers and encourage external organisations to collaborate with academics, leveraging funding schemes such as the Wellcome Trust Institutional Translational Partnership Award (iTPA) and the Medical Research Council’s Confidence in Concept award.
Dr George Baxter, CEO of Edinburgh Innovations, said: “Andrea is an exceptional champion of knowledge exchange, inspiring both her colleagues and our clients and collaborators. This award is well-deserved recognition of her exceptional work, which ultimately leads to innovations that benefit society.”
Recent success include Pheno Therapeutics, which launched with an investment of £5 million from Advent Life Sciences, LifeArc and The Scottish Investment Bank, to develop new therapeutics for multiple sclerosis by stimulating re-myelination.
Meanwhile activities to develop new early stage projects and develop early career researchers have built a pipeline of more than 75 collaborative projects currently live and a ‘translational hub’ with a community of more than 300 academic researchers, supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust Institutional Translational Partnership Award.
Dr Taylor’s team and her research colleagues have recently launched the Translational and Commercialisation Board to develop the knowledge exchange culture at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and a new Bench to Bedside campaign aims to boost yet further the pace of commercialisation and industry engagement.
The Knowledge Exchange Heroes award was one of eight categories in the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2021 presented by Interface, the business-academic matching service.
Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said. “The judges were incredibly humbled and impressed by the innovation and creativity, exemplar partnerships and overall impacts of the applications across all eight categories.
“From responses to the COVID-19 crisis, to breakthrough technologies in health, circular economy and poultry genetics, the winners announced today are an impressive showcase of the incredible collaborative work which goes on every day in Scotland, and a celebration of the people behind the partnerships from all industry sectors and across all academic disciplines.
“They bring renewed admiration for knowledge sharing between businesses, social enterprises, public bodies, such as the NHS, universities and colleges across Scotland.”