The University of Edinburgh is taking significant steps to accelerate the commercialization of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) research. By expanding its Venture Builder Incubator (VBI) programme, the university aims to support postgraduate students, early-career researchers, academic staff, and recent alumni throughout Scotland. This move comes as the UK robotics industry is predicted to grow by over 7 percent by 2028, contributing to a global market that is estimated to reach a value of more than $349 billion by 2032[^1^].
Thanks to match-funding from Barclays Eagle Labs’ ecosystem partnership programme, which is backed by the UK government, VBI can increase its support significantly. Participants will have the opportunity to receive mentoring from industry-leading experts, access interactive workshops and networking events, and utilize the state-of-the-art facilities at the Bayes Centre in central Edinburgh. The expansion of the 2023 programme also marks the collaboration between VBI and the National Robotarium, a data-driven innovation hub located at Heriot-Watt University and focusing on robotics and AI[^2^].
Venture Builder Incubator is known for bridging the gap between academia and entrepreneurship. It has a track record of transforming innovative ideas with societal and industrial impact into realities. This expansion of the programme specifically aims to nurture robotics and autonomous systems companies, which are crucial for Scotland’s key growth sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, and healthcare, as well as for the overall national economy[^3^].
The head of entrepreneurship at the Bayes Centre, Duncan Martin, emphasizes the importance of the incubator’s role in delivering the skills and knowledge vital to Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The programme aims to connect aspiring entrepreneurs with like-minded individuals and industry partners, fostering collaboration opportunities and driving economic growth in the robotics and AI sectors. Matt Corbidge, head of Eagle Labs at Barclays, believes that this programme’s ability to match-fund will have a significant impact on businesses, not only within the field of robotics but also across various sectors, showcasing the potential for growth and commercialization[^4^].
Q: How will the expansion of the Venture Builder Incubator benefit robotics and AI research in Scotland?
A: The expansion of the programme will provide increased support, mentoring, and access to cutting-edge facilities for postgraduates, researchers, and entrepreneurs specializing in robotics and autonomous systems, contributing to the growth of these sectors in Scotland.
Q: What is the projected growth of the UK robotics industry?
A: The UK robotics industry is estimated to grow by more than 7 percent by 2028, as part of a global market that is projected to surpass $349 billion by 2032.
Q: What sectors will the expanded incubator programme support?
A: The programme will support key growth sectors in Scotland, including renewable energy, agriculture, and healthcare, along with the national economy.
Q: What is the aim of Venture Builder Incubator?
A: Venture Builder Incubator aims to bridge the gap between academia and entrepreneurship by transforming innovative ideas with societal and industrial impact into realities, fostering collaboration and driving economic growth.