University partnership aims to bring best-in-class market discovery programme to north east Scotland

Opportunity North East and University of Aberdeen partner with Innovate UK to bring best-in-class market discovery programme to north east Scotland

THE next generation of innovators in north east Scotland’s high-value life sciences, digital tech, and energy sectors is exploring the commercial potential of their research and technology through a new collaboration between Opportunity North East, the University of Aberdeen, and national innovation agency Innovate UK.

The three partners are co-funding the Innovate UK ICURe Discover North east market discovery programme, the UK’s leading early-stage research accelerator. 

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Ten teams of researchers are embarking on an eight-week journey in the north east programme. The participants will gain invaluable market awareness and customer discovery skills. They will use insights and tools to explore their innovation’s commercial potential and identify market demand.

ICURe has a proven track record of significantly boosting academic commercialisation and start-ups. Over 500 teams across the UK have benefited from ICURe to date, and the programme has supported the establishment of more than 200 start-up companies. It also serves as a gateway to Innovate UK, connecting start-up prospects at an early stage and enabling them to participate in follow-on programmes as they launch and grow their businesses. 

ONE and the University of Aberdeen are committed to growing the life sciences sector in north east Scotland as part of broader action and investment to diversify the economy. ONE BioHub, which opened last year, is the focal point for commercialisation and growth support provided by ONE and its partners to entrepreneurs, founders, startups, spinouts, and scaling businesses.

Dr Deborah O’Neil OBE FRSE, CEO of NovaBiotics Ltd, chairs the ONE Life Sciences board. She said: “Life sciences is a dynamic growth sector. Its high-value businesses and high-skills jobs are at the heart of our vision for north east Scotland’s future economy. Stimulating the pipeline of startups and spinouts is fundamental to delivering growth. This new partnership between ONE, the University of Aberdeen and Innovate UK is significant. It brings the national innovation agency’s resources into the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem we are building for life sciences with ONE BioHub at its heart. The participating teams will benefit from the proven ICURe programme and identify the commercial potential and market demand for their innovation – the first step towards successful commercialisation.”

Professor Peter Edwards, Vice-Principal Regional Engagement at the University of Aberdeen, said: “The University has an excellent reputation for producing and nurturing innovative spinouts and startups, which help change lives, transform society for the better and support our region’s economy. The programme will support those ground-breaking projects that are needed to meet future challenges by helping research teams take their commercially promising ideas to market faster, ensuring we remain at the cutting edge of research and innovation.”

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