Scottish Enterprise is investing Pounds 750,000 in a fellowship scheme to help young academics commercialise their research.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh this session awarded four enterprise fellowships in optoelectronics and biotechnology in a pilot scheme that has proved so successful that Scottish Enterprise has decided to fund six fellowships a year for the next three years. The two extra awards will go to energy and interactive media researchers.
The one-year fellowships involve formal training in entrepreneurship at Glasgow Caledonian University, and the help of an industrial adviser and project mentor.
David Milne of Wolfson Microelectronics, RSE vice president, said it was an opportunity to benefit Scotland's long-term economic development. "I am acutely aware of the barriers academics face when trying to commercialise the products of research," he said.
Iain Ross of Scottish Enterprise said the joint RSE-SE inquiry, which underpins a ten-year commercial strategy, showed that researchers neither had the time nor knowledge to pursue funding.
"We buy them a year of time, get them away from the pressures of academic work and give them a proactive business training,'' he said. "Even if researchers do not create their own spin-out companies, they inject business expertise into their institution."