Grant Wheeler, who founded Old College Capital, has joined Heriot-Watt University as head of commercialisation.

Grant Wheeler, who spent nearly two decades in tech transfer at University of Edinburgh, has joined Heriot-Watt University as its new head of commercialisation.

He will work with faculty, students and industry partners to commercialise services, products and establish spinouts.

Wheeler most recently was a principal consultant for SIS Ventures, which manages the Charis Social Innovation Fund, focused on social impact spinouts established by tech transfer offices Cambridge Enterprise and Oxford University Innovation.

Before this, he spent 18 years from 2000 as head of enterprise development at Edinburgh Innovations, the commercialisation arm of University of Edinburgh. While in that job, he founded venture capital fund Old College Capital, backed by the university itself and its endowment.

David Richardson, chief entrepreneurial officer at Heriot-Watt University, said: “At Heriot-Watt University, we’re turning ground-breaking research into practical applications and commercial outcomes that have real-world impact every single day.

“This is being achieved through greater cohesion between academic research, business enterprise and entrepreneurial talent which, in turn, enables us to develop pioneering solutions to some of industry and society’s greatest challenges.

“Our state-of-the-art facilities including GRID, which aims to advance global research, innovation and discovery, are taking this approach to the next level by bringing together leading talent and the brightest minds to drive new innovation and support companies to scale.

“The opportunities in this field are as exciting as they are endless and Grant’s appointment will bolster our significant enterprise expertise. I look forward to seeing him further enhance our commercialisation programmes and continue to develop the abundance of entrepreneurial talent we have at Heriot-Watt University.”

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).