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Aquapharm Founder Joins Scotlands Bright Young Minds

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The founder of one of Scotland's leading marine biotechnology companies has been chosen as a member of the new "RSE Young Academy of Scotland".

Aimed at bringing together some of the most able and innovative young academics, entrepreneurs, artists and professionals in Scotland, it has been established by the Royal Society of Edinburgh -Scotland's National Academy.

Dr Andrew Mearns Spragg, founder and Chief Technology Officer of Aquapharm Biodiscovery (which has bases in Oban and Edinburgh), was one of 68 bright sparks chosen from more than 300 applicants in a rigorous selection procedure.

His application stood out for his company's pioneering work in the discovery, isolation and development of novel bio-chemicals from marine microbes, as well as the fact Andrew has successfully raised £10m in equity and finance.

He said: "My motivation for wishing to join the Young Academy was to take an active role and contribute to the development of strategies and policies that will enable Scotland to succeed as an entrepreneurial nation built on technical and commercial innovation and excellence.

"As a past RSE Enterprise Fellow, the Royal Society of Edinburgh was pivotal in allowing me the opportunity to explore my entrepreneurial potential and develop the skills needed to build a pioneering technology business. This forum allows me the opportunity to share my network with like-minded individuals and contribute something back."

The establishment of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland hopes to stimulate creative ideas, promoting collaborative working between members that will help address some of the key challenges facing Scotland and contribute to solving some of the global challenges of the 21st century.

The Young Academy will provide a platform for the best and most forward-looking people of their generation to develop for themselves a distinctive, coherent and influential 'voice' to address many of the challenging issues facing society. It will provide a forum for its members to engage with talented individuals beyond their own discipline or profession.

The average age of the first group of members of the Young Academy is 36, and over 40 per cent are women. They cover a very wide range of expertise from biologists, geoscientists and engineers to lawyers, social scientists and entrepreneurs. There are members from all parts of Scotland, as well as those originally from elsewhere in the UK or other parts of the world.

Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, the RSE President, said: "This is an exciting and important initiative. We have created the RSE Young Academy of Scotland because we believe that the future vitality of Scotland will depend on how we support and engage with the most talented and creative members of the rising generation.

"All of the people who have been appointed have demonstrated great ability and potential. I have no doubt that there will be many in this group who will go on to make a significant contribution, both within Scotland and internationally in the years ahead."

The Young Academy will be officially launched at a ceremony in Edinburgh in November.



Notes to Editors

About Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd.

Aquapharm is a leading marine biotechnology company pioneering the discovery, isolation and development of novel, marine-derived bioactives for application in a wide range of commercial sectors, including pharmaceuticals, functional ingredients and industrial biotechnology. The company is based at the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology in Oban, and Heriot-Watt University Research Park, Edinburgh.

Aquapharm has built a substantial and specialised collection of marine bacteria and fungi from a variety of diverse habitats. Through the application of its proprietary technologies to this collection, the company has been able to stimulate the production of novel, biologically active products with broad chemical diversity. To accelerate its discovery efforts, Aquapharm is currently preparing one of the world's largest marine-derived compound libraries.


For more information, please see http://www.aquapharm.co.uk/



About the Royal Society of Edinburgh


The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's National Academy of Science and Letters. It was founded in 1783 by Royal Charter for the "advancement of learning and useful knowledge". It has 1500 Fellows whose expertise encompasses the full spectrum of sciences, medicine, engineering and technology, education, law, the arts, humanities, social sciences, business, industry, the professions and public service. This multi-disciplinary perspective makes the RSE unique amongst the UK's learned societies.


The RSE Young Academy invited applications from outstanding young academics and professionals for membership in the age range late 20s to early 40s. Membership lasts for three years and can be continued for a further three years.


In the first cohort of members 68 members were appointed from 336 applicants. Of these over 40 per cent are female, 80 per cent are from the academic sector across a wide range of institutions, with around 20 per cent from the professions and business.


The initiative to establish the Young Academy of Scotland was made possible by a legacy donation to the Royal Socieyt of Edinburgh by the late Dr David Shepherd, himself a former Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE).