The University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Innovation Centre (RIC) and Deep Science Ventures (DSV) have partnered to deliver Scotland’s first agricultural venture builder.
The ‘FAST’ programme combines the Roslin Institute’s expertise and facilities across genomics, veterinary biosciences, biotechnology and agriculture with DSV’s expertise in launching science companies.
Each year, the partnership will launch several technology start-ups comprising teams from the University of Edinburgh, the wider UK, and the rest of the world.
Roslin and DSV will select globally relevant commercial and technology opportunities, recruit founders from the Edinburgh ecosystem and wider world to create agritech companies to meet the needs of farmers, the public and the planet’s ecosystems.
Professor Bruce Whitelaw, Interim Director of the Roslin Institute, said: “FAST offers a transformative opportunity to accelerate the entrepreneurial culture at Easter Bush.
“Based out of the Roslin Innovation Centre on the University Easter Bush Campus, Scotland’s first venture studio FAST will help deliver the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Agritech ambitions and our university’s Data-Driven Innovation entrepreneurship offering.
“Refocussing the agritech-savvy investor community on Edinburgh, we expect to form at least three companies each year of the FAST programme. Initially looking to regenerative aquaculture, pollinators and controlled environment agriculture, future calls will expand scope to cover emerging aspects of data-driven innovation in agriculture.”
The University’s Easter Bush campus is one of five hubs receiving investment as part of the Data-Driven Innovation initiative, the University’s contribution to the City Region Deal. Over the next 15 years, the hubs will support the growth of data-driven innovation in the region’s economy, attracting investment, supporting entrepreneurship, and increasing data skills.
John Mackenzie, CEO of Roslin Innovation Centre, said: “Attracting world-wide scientific and entrepreneurial talent and combining them with market-led opportunities to create companies of scale in Animal Health, Agri-tech and/or Aquaculture (AAA), FAST will hopefully find and create the first AAA unicorn company, which will only augment our world-leading position at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus.”
Edward Perello, Associate Director for Agriculture at DSV, notes the partnership is “creating much-needed room for science founders to build game-changing technologies and business models that work for food security, climate change, and biodiversity loss. Over the coming years, our ambition is to work with the right founders and partners, and create hundreds of high value jobs at the intersection of technology and agriculture. It’s fantastic to have Roslin on board as our first partner, and we’re now recruiting our founding teams.”