Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh has appointed an associate principal for enterprise – a strategic new role to drive engagement with entrepreneurial talent.

A highly experienced professor of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, professor Gabriela Medero was recently acknowledged as one of the top 50 women in engineering by the Women’s Engineering Society.

She is also renowned globally for developing the award-winning K-Briq, the world’s first sustainable brick made from 90 per cent construction and demolition waste. 

Professor Medero will use her experience in leading multidisciplinary teams, delivering strategic partnerships and developing commercial enterprises from research to build a strong pipeline of academic entrepreneurs and provide inspiration to students and the wider Heriot-Watt’s community. Her role is in line with the delivery of the University’s Shaping Tomorrow Together strategy.

As co-founder of her own successful spin-out company called Kenoteq, which will scale up to commercial production later this year, Professor Medero will apply her own business acumen and startup experience to the role.

She will additionally be responsible for supporting academic colleagues to engage in new and innovative entrepreneurial initiatives as well as attracting strategic global partnerships and enhancing connectivity across Heriot-Watt’s ecosystem of global campuses.

Dr Gillian Murray, deputy principal for business and enterprise, said: “At Heriot-Watt University, we’re building a vibrant entrepreneurial community that inspires both our students and academics to pursue the commercial potential of their creative ideas and research. 

“This new role encapsulates our collective ambition to drive economic growth and social opportunity through creating entrepreneurial minds of the future. Importantly, it will further enhance entrepreneurship opportunities and cross-campus connectivity for staff and learners alike.

“Professor Medero has an impressive personal track record of driving enterprise through research, commercialising her innovative circular-economy K-Briq. She will provide inspiration and guidance to others which will build the pipeline of new opportunities within Heriot Watt. Her extensive experience, strong management skills and ability to foster productive partnerships will be key to the successful delivery of our Shaping Tomorrow Together strategy.”

Professor Gabriela Medero, associate principal (enterprise), said: “Advancing emerging technologies, building interdisciplinary partnerships and commercialising research are key strands of Heriot-Watt’s long history of promoting entrepreneurialism. And its global reach and close collaboration with industry and business means that it is consistently at the forefront of academic endeavour making a real-world impact on our society.

“I relish the challenge of supporting both academic and student entrepreneurs to realise their creative potential and using my personal experience to guide them as they pursue their own ambitious paths.”