Attend this AI Accelerator event and hear from the 12 innovative companies who have taken part in this year’s AI Accelerator Programme. Selected under the themes of Health, Climate and AI for Good, the scaleup cohort are applying AI for positive change across a broad range of sectors. Meet them in person at this Showcase event in the prestigious Playfair Library Hall in central Edinburgh on the 20th March 2024.

This year the programme celebrates it’s 5th birthday. Collectively, previous cohort companies have raised over £66m in investment since taking part.


20th March 2024 from 1:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Registration from 1 pm. (The event will also be streamed online for those unable to make it in person. The online event will end at 5pm).

What’s on the agenda?

From 13:30 – 17:00 each of the 12 innovative companies will pitch their solution and their business. They are looking for investment, collaborations and customers. You can vote for the best pitch, with a cash prize on offer for the winning pitches. This event is also a celebration of the programme’s fifth birthday, so we will be reflecting on the last 5 years with Nick Jones, founder & CEO of Zumo. They took part in the very first programme. We will also be looking forward to what might happen in the field of AI in the next 5 years with Richard M Marshall, tech entreprenuer, industry analyst and Parkour enthusiast.

From 17:00 – 19:00 there will be networking opportunities where you can chat and build relationships with founders, investors and academics over a coffee or drinks and a canapé. You can look forward to a day of discovering potential opportunities for investment, collaboration, and inspiration.

About the AI Accelerator

The 6-month Accelerator Programme scales AI-driven companies from both Scotland and the rest of the world. The AI Accelerator is delivered by the Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the commercialisation service of the University. It is delivered on behalf of the University’s Data-Driven Innovation Hubs, in contribution to the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme.

Join the fourth Venture Builder Incubator Showcase at Central Hall in Edinburgh’s Tollcross to celebrate the latest in innovation and entrepreneurship . Watch pitches from the inspirational start-ups.
Vote for your favourite – the winners receive cash prizes – and meet the teams afterwards over canapes and refreshments.

This year’s programme has supported 26 Startups to explore and validate the commercial potential of data-driven research. The cohort includes 7 start-ups sponsored by Cancer Research Horizons who are using data to deliver better diagnosis and treatment options for cancer patients. For the first time we have provided targeted support for robotics and autonomous systems projects, thanks to match funding from the Barclays Eagle Labs Ecosystem Partnership Programme, funded by the UK Government.

About the Venture Builder Incubator
The Venture Builder Incubator is delivered by the Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the commercialisation service of the University. It is delivered on behalf of the University’s Data-Driven Innovation Hubs, in contribution to the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme.

Through a tailored programme of interactive online workshops and events researchers become founders who are encouraged to connect their data-driven ideas to the world and to explore investment opportunities. This is the fourth programme and it builds on the achievements of the previous cohorts which have seen considerable success.

The Bayes Centre Forum series is intended to create the opportunity for Members & Partners of the Bayes Centre, the wider University community and external business guests to interact, share experiences and explore multi-disciplinary AI and data science research collaboration opportunities.

November’s Forum will provide a quarterly overview of the University of Edinburgh activities in data science and AI and how the Bayes Centre supports the adoption and translation of data science and AI technologies for businesses and organisations.

Speakers include:

Please note, this event will be online only, a Zoom link will be sent to your email prior to the event.

Danu Robotics is developing a revolutionary robotic waste sorting system to help the waste management industry significantly increase their productivity, prevent valuable resources going into landfill, boost the circular economy and clean up the environment.


The world generates 3 billion tonnes of domestic solid waste annually, less than 10% of it is recycled. Worldwide, recycling sites require human intervention to pick out contaminants, which can pose health risks and is extremely inefficient.

Xiaoyan Ma founder of Edinburgh-based, clean tech company Danu Robotics, has combined her expertise in high performance computing (HPC) with her passion for the environment to revolutionise the efficiency of the recycling sector by developing an AI-powered, robotic sorting system.

She explained: “I have been a committed environmentalist since I was a teenager and always recycled my household waste, but I’d never thought about where it ended up. So, a couple of years ago, while I was studying, I decided to look into the whole process, and I was shocked at how inefficient it was.”

The Challenge

As a team of one, Xiaoyan needed help in identifying additional resources to support the development of the robotic solution. She required both experts in robotics and hardware development. She also called for help with software development and computer vision expertise. Experts in advanced data analytics and image recognition capability, would help develop a more accurate machine learning algorithm and object classification to enable the robotic system to differentiate between recyclable materials and general waste.

Following an introduction from John Hill, her student enterprise advisor at Edinburgh Innovations, Interface made several connections to different academic teams to support Danu Robotics on their journey of development.

The Solution

Interface connected Danu Robotics into the Design Manufacturing & Engineering Management (DMEM) department, at the University of Strathclyde. The DMEM students undertook a six-month project researching and developing the robotic picker equipped with a camera to identify objects and an appropriate algorithm to instruct the picker to pick out the recyclables and place them in a designated area. The robotic picker needed to meet predefined performance requirements, and in addition, the solution had to be durable, recyclable/sustainable, affordable, portable and re-programmable. Several options were considered to design robotic pickers that were fit for purpose ranging from, a custom solution where the robotic picker uses a suction and release mechanism rather than grab and release, to the modification of an off-the-shelf robot arm/picker to the combination of hard robot and soft robot.

In conjunction to this project, Interface also connected Danu Robotics into EPCC at the University of Edinburgh to develop software for identification and classification of objects and to define suitable hardware, including sensors and cameras, for the robotic picker.

The software development phase required development of a machine learning algorithm that takes image data and sensor data to differentiate recyclables from the general waste. The company had to build up a waste image database to help the system identify contaminants, the collection of the image data was supported by Glasgow City Council. Each item in this visual database was then labelled by a specialist data processing company and the updated database used to ‘train’ the machine learning algorithm to identify what can and cannot be recycled.

With initial system training complete, the software required further development to direct the robotic sorting system to remove contaminants from a moving conveyor belt as efficiently and effectively as possible. Working with EPCC’s Cirrus supercomputer resources, accelerated the development of the project, with two months of lab tests to integrate the software with the robotic hardware, followed by a three-month trial of the prototype system at Glasgow City Council’s recycling centre.

The initial collaboration with EPCC was funded by a SFC Innovation Voucher, then EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) funding which in turn helped leverage £70K in a SMART Scotland grant. They have recently secured SFC Advanced Innovation Voucher funding to continue development work with EPCC.

Other opportunities which Interface have been instrumental in assisting Danu Robotics with include:

The Benefits

  • The development of a revolutionary robotic system for the recycling and waste management industry to significantly increase recycling efficiency;
  • Danu Robotics’ prototype can work at 40 picks per minute versus trained human operators that work around 10-20 picks per minute.
  • It can reduce the contamination rate from current level of 50%, to 10% to below 1% while saving on operating costs ranging from 30% to 100%.
  • The technology can be used by any recycling facility worldwide regardless of its size, its current technology or location. It can support recycling activities in both developed countries and developing nations.
  • Danu Robotics’ efforts are paying off with several large European recycling companies showing interest in the product.
  • Since inception in 2020 Danu Robotics has grown from 1 to 10 employees and has raised £275K from Sustainable Ventures and Old College Capital, £160K Smart funding, £75K EDGE Funding, £43K in support from Higgs Business Incubation Centre and £20K from SFC innovation voucher scheme.

This one-day event will showcase impact success stories, offer you a chance to find a partner from another Scottish university, and give you the opportunity to access funds for impact collaborations. Inspirational sessions include a keynote speech from Mark Miodownik and skills development and networking facilitated by Skillfluence.

The IAA Impact Festival is organised by the five Scottish universities with EPSRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs): University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, University of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt University and University of St Andrews.

Plenary sessions

Our keynote speaker is Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at UCL. He champions materials science research that links to the arts and humanities, medicine and society. Mark established the Institute of Making, where he is a director and runs the research programme. He also recently set up the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub to carry out research into solving the environmental catastrophe of plastic waste. Mark is a broadcaster and writer on science and engineering issues, and believes passionately that to engineer is human. In 2018 he was awarded an MBE for services to materials science, engineering and broadcasting.

The keynote will be followed by lightning talks from impact leaders from the five leading Scottish universities in science and engineering. The speakers will share their experiences of creating different types of impact from social and policy impact to industry collaboration, commercialisation and company creation. Learn how our speakers have leveraged the support available to them to further their career and translate their research into impact. The speakers are:

Interface will be exhibiting at this event so come and join us.

The Scotsman Data Conference 2023 is bringing together key decision makers, data sciences business leaders, media and thought provoking influencers – this hybrid conference is a must attend event for those who want to be part of the discussion and influence Scotland’s Data community.

Hosted with the University of Edinburgh, this year the conversation evolves from the 2022 conference and will feature a range of virtual and in person panel discussions and keynote presentations. Join the conference for a day of industry keynote speakers, informative breakouts and panel discussions and extensive networking opportunities.

Scotland’s national parks and rural and coastal spaces are developing diverse projects deploying sensors, IoT, digital tools such as apps and dashboards to help manage visitors responsibly. This workshop, in partnership with CENSIS, explores how data collected from sensor projects can be used strategically. We’ll also learn more about some of the work being developed in visitor destinations to understand how digital tools such as apps can influence visitor behaviour, and get an introduction to some of them from those active in visitor management across Scotland.

This event is aimed at: Organisations and stakeholders involved in managing responsible tourism; visitor spaces, tourism networks, councils and third sector organisations.


Register here to attend.

The Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) is hosting its 2nd Annual Conference which will bring together industry, NHS and academia to discuss the latest services offered by stakeholders in the life sciences and healthcare sector.

This conference is unique in its breadth and offers the opportunity for delegates to find out more about initiatives set by the NHS and government, as well as learn about the latest advances by companies in the sector.

It will provide invaluable networking opportunities and companies will be offered free exhibition space on a first come, first served basis. Academia will have the opportunity to present their research work through a posters exhibition.

If you are interested in the latest MedTech news and tips, or seek further insight into growing your business, come along and be a part of this invaluable opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, companies and stakeholders in the Scottish life sciences and healthcare sector.


The morning session focus is on the services that SMEs can access to accelerate innovation.

The afternoon session will explore the activities and services in health and care offered by organisations such as Scottish Enterprise, the Centre for Process Innovations (CPI), and the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre (DHI-Scotland).

About MDMC

The mission of the MDMC is to provide expert advice on manufacturing engineering, regulatory issues and funding, coupled with technically supported access to manufacturing facilities, to assist small- and medium-sized companies in the translation of medical device concepts through to small batch commercial prototypes. Services provided by the MDMC are free of charge to SMEs, with priority to Scottish SMEs at all times.

A consortium of 4 universities led by Heriot-Watt and funded from the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF) and the Edinburgh City Deal, the MDMC offers medical device development and manufacture in Scotland, providing companies with an enabling step towards first-in-patient-studies.

The Bayes Centre Forum series is intended to create the opportunity for Partners & Members of the Bayes Centre, the wider University community and external business guests to interact, share experiences and explore multi-disciplinary AI and data science research collaboration opportunities.

This Bayes Forum will hear from a selection of colleagues who are focused on supporting researchers, students, staff and SMEs at all levels to take their work to industry; those that manage the programmes which support this and the researchers themselves on the importance of entrepreneurship.