A new fund has been launched to help biotechnology researchers at Scottish universities launch spin-out companies.
The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) is offering funding of up to £20,000, or one third of the total value of projects.
It is intended to support the scientists to progress their bio-based research and establish new companies within two years of the grants being awarded.
IBioIC was established in 2014 to meet targets, set out in the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology, of achieving £900million turnover in the sector in Scotland, from more than 200 companies, by 2025.
According to the innovation centre, total turnover is already more than £747m.
Liz Fletcher, director of business engagement and operations at IBioIC, said: “This will be the first time we have delivered a support programme specifically aimed at the academic community, who are often working on ideas that would make a great foundation for a spin-out company.
“Turning these concepts into commercial businesses represents a significant opportunity for the continued growth of Scotland’s bioeconomy.”
Support for ‘investor-friendly’ ideas
The innovation centre will directly support proof-of-concept projects that provide the evidence needed to turn ideas into “investor friendly” products and services – a crucial stepping stone in launching a spin-out.
Ms Fletcher continued: “There is much more to industrial biotechnology than its links with the chemicals industry and we are keen to support proposals across a breadth of sectors and applications.
“Spin-out companies could operate in a wide variety of sectors, ranging from food and drink, textiles, construction to healthcare, vaccine development or marine and aquaculture.
We are keen to engage with researchers at the earliest possible stage of the funding application and work together to develop ideas and create strong proposals for funding that can ultimately fuel successful new businesses.”
Selected projects and their resulting businesses will be offered one year’s free membership of the IBioIC to access furthers support, training opportunities and guidance.
Scotland’s universities have track record of producing spin-outs. They include mycoBiologics, launched by researchers from Aberdeen University.