RGU won the prestigious award for its development of ‘Innovation@RGU’, which is embedding entrepreneurship and innovation across the university and supporting the economic growth and diversifications 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.
Entrepreneurship is now a career choice for many graduates and RGU is embedding innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the university as a matter of strategic importance.
In just nine months, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG) at RGU have created an entrepreneurial environment for students, staff, alumni and external participants.
Professor Gordon McConnell, Vice Principal for Commercial and Regional Innovation, said: “I’m proud to see the work of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group being recognised at a national level in these prestigious awards, which showcase the breadth of innovation in Scottish education.
“Universities need to be engines of economic growth, and integral to this is the way in which we go about future proofing learners. 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 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 cover a number of industries and sectors including healthcare, digital media, education technology, energy, food, fashion and textiles, and 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, which is funded by The Wood Foundation, 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’.