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Scotland’s universities have a long tradition of innovation and have been key in the fundamental scientific and engineering advances in modern mathematics, chemistry and engineering and medicine. (We invented the decimal point!)
In modern times, these universities have capitalised on their research strengths and generated many new technologies and discoveries that have been commercialised successfully through technology licensing or the formation of new ’spin-out’ companies - several of which have gone on to major global success.
Here are some current examples of successful technologies and discoveries that have been licensed to existing companies or new University spin-out companies and are being developed into successful products in their own right.
High tech continuous reactor company, NiTech Solutions Ltd signed a licence agreement with Heriot-Watt University allowing it to commercialise revolutionary crystallisation technology that could vastly increase manufacturing processes and production in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. More info >
Vertebrate Antibodies Ltd was spun out from the University of Aberdeen to provide new antibody tools to the research community. The company received investment from a private investor. A range of antibodies have been licensed.
A cheaper and more efficient laser technology for various medical and industrial applications, developed by a University of Dundee led consortium and supported by a grant from the University of Dundee Innovation Portal, was licensed to a Scottish SME.
Nautricity Ltd was spun out from the University of Strathcyde's Energy Systems Research Unit to generate electricity from tidal flows. This unique patented contra rotating tidal turbine technology has been awarded the prestigious Technology Award by the Energy Institute.
An efficient direct-drive generator system that removes the need for the complex gearboxes in large wind turbines, developed by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, was licensed to spin-out company, NGenTec Ltd, who have established an industrial partnership with global gearing company David Brown Gear Systems to build and test a multi-MW prototype generator. NGenTec was widely regarded as 2009’s leading spin-out company from the Scottish university sector. More info >
DNA methylation technology, developed by the University of Edinburgh, to generate reagents that simplify the purification and isolation of methylated and unmethylated DNA from cells and tissues making it easier to study, have been licensed to several life science reagent companies and incorporated within user-friendly kits that can be used by researchers working in this field.
’Blood Bag’, a single-use, flat-pack device which uses specially-treated material to prepare blood for transfusion, developed by the University of Strathclyde, was licensed to a UK-based medical technology company. This technology aims to process blood lost during surgery so it can be safely fed back to the donor without the need for expensive suction and centrifuge equipment.
A real-time 3D imaging system, which provides a pseudo-3D view of an object in real time, was developed by Heriot-Watt University and licensed to a major global instrument manufacturer.
Algorithms for automated detection of diabetic retinopathy, developed by scientists at the University of Aberdeen, were licensed to Scottish Health Innovations Ltd and subsequently sub-licensed to Medalytix Ltd, which markets the software as iGradingM. NHS Scotland are now using iGradingM as a key component of the National Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme.
A suite of Palladium-based organo-metal catalysts for high yield carbonylation reactions, developed by Heriot-Watt University, was licensed to one of the world's largest chemical materials suppliers.