University provides £140m boost to Scottish economy

The University of Edinburgh generates more that £140 million for the Scottish economy every year, a report has revealed.

Work done by the university to launch new companies and license technological innovation also supports around 2400 jobs in Scotland, according to research carried out by independent consultancy BiGGAR Economics.

The study focuses on Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the university’s commercialisation arm, responsible for realising the commercial potential of research undertaken in various departments.

Spin-out and start-up companies supported by the ERI have contributed around £128.8 million to the Scottish economy in the last year. Amongst the companies created is Speech Graphics, a software developer specialising in realistic speech for video games, which recently won a John Logie Baird award for innovation.

Derek Waddell, chief executive of ERI, said: “This study strongly indicates the hugely important economic role that the University of Edinburgh plays within Scotland. Our work to create and foster new companies is vital in encouraging entrepreneurship and helps innovative firms to develop and grow.”

Since the 1960s, 262 businesses have been formed by the University of Edinburgh, with 84 per cent still active today. Of the companies, 190 are located in Scotland, employing an estimated 2180 staff.

Between 2008 and 2011 ERI helped establish more than 100 new companies in a number of sectors, primarily life sciences, digital technology and electronics, making it he best-performing university commercialisation department in the UK.

Sandy Finlayson, senior partner at law firm MBM Commercial, which specialises in early-stage investment, said: “The steady stream of new technology companies emerging from the University of Edinburgh in recent years has had a significant impact on Scotland’s technology scene, and includes some firms with great promise and exciting technology.

“The work done by ERI and others in the university to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship among students and postgraduates is essential both to our future success as a country and to provide real employment opportunities for the next generation.”

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