We are excited to have Robert Goodfellow at Edinburgh Napier University as our Entrepreneur in Residence. Robert sat down with Fiona Mason, Head of BE and IP Commercialisation, to share some of his experience so far and his plans for 2022.
It’s great to have you here Robert. We’ve been getting some great feedback from our academic colleagues. How has it been for you from your side of things?
Being a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence has been a fantastic experience. Throughout 2021, I had the opportunity to work as a part of the Research Innovation & Enterprise team on a part time basis and engage with a wide range of academic staff across the School of Applied Sciences. The objectives of the NASCENT project – Napier Applied Sciences Enterprise Training were highly ambitious in their dual deliverables of “changing the mindset of academic entrepreneur and uncovering new (commercial) ideas suited to licensing or spinout” but the challenge provided by lockdown, limited university access and a move to remote work ultimately proved beneficial in refocusing support to a narrow group of projects. Supported by RIE, my EiR role has been extended throughout 2022 and, you will certainly be seeing a lot more of me on campus!
I know it’s been a bit of a baptism of fire. There were many people who were keen to meet you and projects to get your head around. What have we been keeping you most busy with?
During 2021, I worked with RIE colleagues to review the University commercialisation process and spent a large of my time supporting a commercialisation project, PlusPEP, and this included investigating the market opportunity, supply chain & customers and manoeuvrability of the product globally. PlusPEP is a future spinout company of the School of Applied Sciences and is developing “immunity enhancing products” that support the human body natural immune system to fight against infections such as the common cold (Rhinovirus). Led by Prof Peter Barlow and Dr Craig Stevens, PlusPEP is moving through the University spinout process and was a semi-finalist in the 2021 CONVERGE Challenge and from over 130 applicants was one of the 12 Finalists in the Scottish EDGE Wildcard business plan competition in November 2021.
What has impressed you most at the University?
There is some great science that has commercial potential ongoing across the campus but , importantly, I think it has to be the willingness of the staff that engaged with me as EiR to “give it a go” and take that first step as entrepreneurs themselves – PlusPEP is a good example, in the space of a few months, the founding team went from an idea and a draft plan to participating in 2 of Scotland largest business plan competitions – the skills gained in understanding markets, company formation and even “pitching” a commercial idea to a panel are directly transferable to academic life and research grant writing.
Can you let us know a little about your plans for the rest of the year?
To get back on the NASCENT project deliverables and facilitate a series of seminars and masterclasses for enterprising staff and students before completing the formation of PlusPEP and ensuring that the company does become a “Spinout of Edinburgh Napier University” during 2022.
Thank you so much Robert and we look forward to working with you in the year ahead. If anyone wants to contact Robert, you can contact him directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.