A UNIVERSITY of Edinburgh initiative which helps emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies maximise their full commercial potential is now accepting applications for its 2023 programme. Open to both Scottish and international companies, the AI Accelerator is seeking innovative scale-ups to be part of its sixth cohort.
Since its launch in 2018, the programme has supported a wide range of innovative AI companies including Edinburgh-based cancer research business Carcinotech; climate monitoring solution provider Space Intelligence; and Zumo, which has now become the UK’s leading crypto wallet and payment platform. These and other University of Edinburgh AI Accelerator participant companies have gone on to secure well in excess of £30m of external investment.
This year’s programme is open to applications until 15 May, from scalable, incorporated companies with high growth potential. They must have a strong focus on using ‘AI for good’ to deliver societal benefits in key areas including health and wellbeing, social care, and environmental stewardship.
The 12 companies selected for the next AI Accelerator, which will run for six months from mid-September, will benefit from support aimed at helping transform their businesses into world-leaders with a strong focus on investment strategy development and direct engagement with potential investors. Along with some generous financial support, newly accepted cohort companies will also be given the opportunity to scale their business through a series of workshops with trainers and mentors covering a range of commercialisation issues from product pricing to leadership.
As home to the largest centres for computing science and informatics in Europe, the University of Edinburgh’s academic expertise and links into the Data-Driven Innovation hubs provides further value for the companies participating in the AI Accelerator. The University has also been ranked second in the UK and 15th globally for Data Science in this year’s QS World University Rankings.
The 2023 programme will once again be delivered both digitally and in-person by The University of Edinburgh’s world-leading Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. It is delivered on behalf of its Data-Driven Innovation Hubs, in contribution to the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme.
Among the companies taking part in the most recent AI Accelerator programme was US-based MindTrace, developers of a clinical decision support tool that reduces uncertainty associated with neurosurgery. The 2022 cohort also included Edinburgh’s Danu Robotics, a technology solution innovator which has greatly improved speed and accuracy with waste sorting and contaminants removal; and Microplate Dx, a University of Strathclyde spin-out which has revolutionised the treatment of drug-resistant bacterial infections.
Launching this year’s AI Accelerator, Kim Graham, University of Edinburgh Provost and Vice-Principal of Research and Enterprise, said: “The AI Accelerator is a highly collaborative, world-leading programme that is driving forward innovation and helping companies using AI for good to maximise their commercial potential.
“Along with the cross-sector academic and strategic advice on offer, the programme helps AI innovators build their global networks and provides an ideal window to external investment opportunities to help them scale their businesses. The AI Accelerator delivers real economic impact through its support of both Scottish-based businesses as well as international companies which may be looking to locate their operations here. We look forward to attracting the best applications from across the globe, reflecting the University of Edinburgh’s 60 years of leading the world in AI research.”
Stuart Hannah, co-founder and CEO of MicroplateDx, a participant in last year’s AI Accelerator, said: “The AI Accelerator programme has been transformational for me personally and for the business. We have been involved in a number of other accelerators in the past, but the University of Edinburgh programme has proven unique in terms of its impact connecting us with key investors, and providing us with clear guidance and mentoring to help develop the business.”