George Baxter will take on the role of Chief Executive Officer at Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) this week as the University institution works towards improving its commercialisation and collaboration with the greater research industry.
The institute prides itself on providing valuable resources to members of the University of Edinburgh community seeking support for their innovations, research, or entrepreneurial endeavours.
The organisation also publicises the many advances in science and technology it has facilitated, such as the creation of the first genetically engineered hepatitis B vaccine, and the world’s smallest television screen (as recognised in the Guinness Book of World Records). One of the most recent projects, as advertised on the ERI website, is a new test for accurately diagnosing Parkinson’s disease.
Baxter took the helm of the 47 year-old organisation on 24 October, saying he was attracted to take on this position at the University of Edinburgh in part by its “[…]international reputation for excellence in Research, Teaching and Knowledge Exchange”.
Speaking to The Student, Baxter continued: “The city [Edinburgh] is a great support for these ambitions and the University is uniquely placed in the UK to make significant progress in these fields.”
However Baxter did concede that the ERI “has the capacity to perform even better in its interactions in business and enterprise”. His appointment coincides with ERI’s recent redefinition of its services, and Baxter’s appointment was reportedly made in order for him to help implement these improvements.
As the ERI aims its sights on industry collaboration, a new senior executive team will be commissioned with Baxter at the head. As Baxter tells The Student: “We [the new ERI] will look to expand both the scale and quality of our interactions with businesses and to generate increased numbers of valuable businesses based on the abilities of the staff and students of the University.”
He continued: “[ERI] has a key role to play in the enterprise and start-up culture at Edinburgh. I want the students who graduate to see starting their own knowledge-based business in the area as just as viable a career move as working for someone else and to continue to collaborate with the University as they grow.”
Baxter most recently served as Director of Research and Enterprise and Director of Business Engagement and Innovation Services at the University of Nottingham. He is a native of the Vale of Leven and a graduate of the University of Glasgow.
Baxter discussed some of his personal interests with The Student: “I’ve recently taken up cycling and did Inverness to Glasgow over a weekend in the summer. I also sing and am looking forward to joining the University Choir. I’m living in Stockbridge at the moment and have good intentions of walking to work but we’ll see how that goes over the winter.”
Image: Marlowe Photographic