Deep Science Ventures and the University of Edinburgh partner to deliver Scotland's agricultural venture builder

Thursday 30th April 2020, 9:00am

Deep Science Ventures (DSV) and the University of Edinburgh today launch the Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST), an ambitious programme creating the first venture studio in Scotland.

Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) logo

The FAST programme brings together DSV’s market-led approach to creating science companies, and the Roslin Institute’s world-leading expertise and facilities across genomics, veterinary biosciences, biotechnology and agriculture. Each year the partnership will launch several high growth technology start-ups comprising teams from the University of Edinburgh, the wider UK, and the rest of the world. 

FAST operates virtually but will also be jointly located at the Roslin Innovation Centre (RIC), which is based within the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus and DSV London-based headquarters. DSV and Roslin share the vision to deploy innovative science and will select globally relevant commercial and technology opportunities, recruit and train ambitious founders from the Edinburgh ecosystem and  the world beyond to create agricultural and biotech companies that can respond to the needs of farmers, the public and the planet’s ecosystems. RIC offers flexible office and laboratory open-plan accommodation with quick, easy and secure subdivision and companies formed can be based at RIC with access to state-of-the-art facilities. 

DSV was established to create a founder-friendly method for launching high growth science companies with novel IP, and its approach is to develop each company and its team creation over the course of a year. Founders are recruited to investigate neglected areas in which high impact could be made by unifying innovative science from multiple technological domains. As projects demonstrate increasing commercial viability, additional founders and advisors join to generate the data and IP that allows a novel science company to hit the ground running, alongside a minimum £50,000 of equity investment, which can grow to £500,000.

DSV’s agriculture portfolio includes PES Technologies, which is developing a product that allows farmers to obtain industry-leading soil health test results in-field through on-the-spot analyses of microbial activities in soil, and Beta Bugs, which is headquartered next to the Roslin Institute and develops high performance insect breeds for the rapidly growing "insects as feed” market.

Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, is providing support to the FAST programme with funding provided by the Roslin Foundation and the UK Research and Innovation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UKRI BBSRC), to help realise DSV’s ambitions to develop a new paradigm for applied science in the UK, and directs early stage researchers toward venture-focused discovery at the level of frontier science.

"I am very excited by the prospect of this FAST programme, which is a highly unique approach to company formation." 

"Attracting world-wide scientific and entrepreneurial talent and combining them with market-led opportunities to create companies of scale in Animal Health, Agri-tech and/or Aquaculture (AAA), FAST will hopefully find and create the first AAA unicorn company, which will only augment our world leading position at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus."

John Mackenzie, CEO, Roslin Innovation Centre

“FAST offers a transformative opportunity to accelerate the entrepreneurial culture at Easter Bush.”

“I’m particularly grateful to Edinburgh Innovations for their continued support after having introduced DSV to the Roslin Institute and identified the joint opportunity for a novel approach to company creation.” 

Bruce Whitelaw, Interim Director, The Roslin Institute

"The partnership is creating much-needed room for science founders to build game-changing technologies and business models that work for food security, climate change, and biodiversity loss. Over the coming years, our ambition is to work with the right founders and partners, and create hundreds of high value jobs at the intersection of technology and agriculture. It's fantastic to have Roslin on board as our first partner, and we’re now recruiting our founding teams."

Edward Perello, Associate Director for Agriculture, Deep Science Ventures

For more information about the programme, please register to watch on-demand recording of a webinar (hosted on 14 May)

All Enquiries

For all investment and partnership enquiries with at Deep Science Ventures' Agriculture team, please contact Edward Perello, Associate Director for Agriculture.

About Deep Science Ventures

Deep Science Ventures brings together teams of scientists to seize crucial opportunities and redefine industries. The company was founded to create a better method for launching science companies, one that takes a systems level view of the opportunity from day one. New companies are formed of highly technical founder-type scientists recruited to build “holy grail” ventures with the potential to redesign entire sectors.

Learn more about Deep Science Ventures and their thesis in Food and Agriculture.

About the Roslin Institute

The Roslin Institute is a world-leading institute for animal science research, whose mission is to gain fundamental understanding of genetic, cellular, organ and systems bioscience underpinning common mechanisms of animal development and pathology, and to use this knowledge to prevent and treat important veterinary diseases and develop sustainable farm animal production systems. The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the UK Research and Innovation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is led by Professor Bruce Whitelaw, lentiviral vector and livestock genome engineering pioneer and Interim Director of the Roslin Institute. It is located on the Easter Bush Campus with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, and is part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh.

About Roslin Innovation Centre 

Roslin Innovation Centre (RIC) is based at Easter Bush Campus and works in very close partnership with the Roslin Institute. RIC is the business location of choice for companies undertaking strategic, commercial and collaborative research in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences; Agri-Tech and One Health industries and is the business gateway to the Easter Bush Campus, a hub of activity bringing together associated industry sectors to nurture innovation, collaboration and growth, with a focus on livestock improvement, food security and one biology.

About Edinburgh Innovations

Edinburgh Innovations (EI) is the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. EI leads the University’s activities in industry engagement and business development, enterprise support for students and staff, and the identification, management and commercialisation of University intellectual property. EI also identifies funding in support of the commercialisation process, and has supported FAST in gaining funding from the Roslin Foundation and BBSRC. EI is a wholly owned subsidiary company of the University.