Principal’s Medal for Colin Adams

[2016] In November, the alumnus will receive the University’s highest honour for his significant contribution as our Director of Commercialisation.


The BSc Computer Science and Mathematics (1971) and PhD Computer Science graduate (1977) returned to the University in 2006 and became responsible for connecting research in School of Informatics to the commercial world.

In 2008, he became Director of Informatics Ventures, heading the dynamic team which connects, educates and supports Scotland’s technology entrepreneurs.

Speaking at a reception to mark Colin’s retirement, 26 August 2016, the Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, said:

“Colin, in your 10 years at the University, you have created a team that has had a transformational effect on the technology sector across the City of Edinburgh and boosted the University’s reputation considerably. A thriving technological community has grown up comprising spin-outs and start-ups from the University and public and private sector businesses attracted to the city by our wealth of talent.

“Under your leadership, entrepreneurship has blossomed and attracted major funding, benefitting Informatics, the University and the City. I am delighted that you have won this year’s Principal’s Medal for Contribution to the Community, as you have been a great inspiration and it is very well deserved.

“We are very grateful for your tireless commitment, and your enthusiasm and expertise will be sorely missed.”

Transforming the innovation and entrepreneurship culture

Professor Lesley Yellowlees, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science & Engineering, added:

“Colin has transformed the innovation and entrepreneurship culture in Edinburgh by backing several major programmes that have had a significant positive impact on the Scottish economy, creating companies, jobs and generating new relationships between industry partners.

“His list of accomplishments is impressive. He led the £8.3M funded ProspeKT programme. He raised a further £3.7M to establish Informatics Ventures. He oversaw the creation of Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE) which has recently expanded through London and China focussed activities.

“Colin has helped generate over 70 new companies. He has introduced new industry collaborations, promoted Edinburgh and Scotland through inward investment activities and formed partnerships with many organisations to move forward our entrepreneurship agenda.

“The University will recognise all these achievements in November when he will be awarded the Principal’s Medal for his contribution to the community. Until then, we wish him well in the next exciting phase of his life. There will be no shortage of those seeking out his wisdom, advice and help.”

Useful links

Principal’s Medals

Informatics Ventures

Engage, Invest, Exploit (EIE)

Colin Adams' retirement book (1.05 MB / PPTX)