RGU shortlisted in The Herald Higher Education Awards 2019


Tuesday 14 May 2019

The EIG Team
RGU has been shortlisted in the 2019 Herald Higher Education Awards ‘Outstanding Business Engagement in universities’ category for its development of ‘Innovation@RGU’, which is embedding entrepreneurship and innovation across the university and supporting the economic growth and diversification of the region.

The annual awards recognise outstanding higher education institutions in Scotland and help to build future excellence by facilitating the sharing of good practice.

In the last nine months, the university’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG) has created a thriving entrepreneurial environment for students, staff, alumni and external participants with the help of £1.6million funding from The Wood Foundation.

RGU recognises that entrepreneurship is now a career choice for many graduates and is now embedding innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the university as a matter of strategic importance.

The university has launched of a number of different initiatives which aim to encourage this shift to entrepreneurial and innovative thinking and working, and that take into account the university’s role in broader economic development.

The university’s Startup Accelerator, the first funded programme of its kind in the north-east, has supported the development of 25 new companies, providing more than £300,000 funding for the teams, which span a number of industries and sectors including healthcare, digital media, education technology, energy, food, fashion and textiles, financial technology. Within the first cohort of startups, 40% had one or more female founders while there were 15 countries represented.

On top of business creation through the startup accelerator, RGU has introduced a number of other programmes for staff, students, alumni and other organisations to help drive the innovation agenda. These include Innovation Skills sessions, the Aberdeen Innovation Mentors (AIM), in-class micro-lectures, Innovation Masterclasses, the Entrepreneurship Advancement Program (EAP), Innovation Works for Industry, and secondary school outreach on the ‘Future of Work’.

Professor Gordon McConnell, Vice Principal for Commercial and Regional Innovation, is proud to see the work of the team being recognised at a national level in the prestigious awards.

“Universities need to be engines of economic growth, and integral to this is the way in which we go about future proofing learners”, Prof McConnell commented.

“Providing increasing entrepreneurial opportunities for students is enhancing not just the student experience or the learner journey, but also driving economic growth and ensuring there is a supply of skilled graduates which are agile, adaptable and able to take advantage of the changing world of work throughout their careers.

“The RGU strategy is about democratising entrepreneurship and innovation right across all the disciplines, while extending our offerings to other institutions such as North East Scotland College (NESCol). This strategy takes into account the changing world of work, as well as the university’s role in broader economic development.”

The winners will be announced at The Herald Higher Education Awards Ceremony 2019, which takes place on Wednesday, June 5 at the Crowne Plaza Glasgow. 

Innovation@RGU in numbers –

  • 4,300 - Micro-Lecture participants
  • 821 - High school students engaged
  • 26 - Innovation Skills sessions delivered
  • 572 - Innovation Skills participants
  • 9 – Innovation Masterclass events
  • 578 – Innovation Masterclass attendees
  • 55 – Entrepreneurship Advancement Programme participants
  • 165 - Applications for Startup Accelerator Received
  • 36 - Mentors participating in programme
  • 40 - International judges

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