Scotland’s leaders and influencers in the life sciences sector gathered in the appropriate surrounds of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh to celebrate the achievements of the most outstanding individuals and companies in the sector at the 16th running of annual life sciences awards. The gala Awards Dinner, which was hosted by comedian Fred MacAulay, is an impressive fixture in the calendar which annually attracts over 800 guests from across Scotland, the UK and globally, to see the latest innovations celebrated and rewarded in the Life Sciences Sector.
The awards recognise the success and achievements of Scotland’s internationally-renowned life sciences sector in areas including innovation, investment, community engagement and collaboration. Amongst the prestigious awards presented on the evening was the “Life Science Entrepreneurial Business Leadership Award”, which went to the executive team of biofuel pioneers Celtic Renewables Ltd – company Founder Professor Martin Tangney and CEO Mark Simmers. The pair were recognised for bringing the young micro-SME from a University spinout to a highly acclaimed business.
Celtic Renewables celebrated an exceptional year in 2015 which saw them produce the world’s first samples of an advanced biofuel – biobutanol – from the production residues of the Scottish malt whisky industry. Their breakthrough and continued growth saw the company named as the most innovative biotech startup in Europe at the EU Parliament in Brussels, and the emerging business of the year at the Scottish Business awards, in a year where the award winning entrepreneurs also secured a grant of £11 million from the Department for Transport at Westminster which they will use to co-finance a commercial scale demonstration facility at Grangemouth.
The award was presented to Tangney and Simmers by Dr Lena Wilson, CEO of Scottish Enterprise. Commenting on the award Professor Tangney said “I am particularly honored to receive an award from Scottish Enterprise, as this whole endeavor started out with proof of concept funding from Scottish Enterprise and they have helped me all along the way, from a research project at Edinburgh Napier University to setting up Celtic Renewables and now planning our first commercial demonstration facility.”
Scotland’s life sciences industry already contributes more than £3 billion a year to the Scottish economy with over 650 organisations employing now in excess of 35,000 people. It is globally recognised for its high levels of innovation and Celtic Renewables is widely regarded as one of country’s most innovative biotechnology companies, producing environmentally and commercially sustainable “drop-in” advanced biofuel (biobutanol) from the 2billion litres of liquid effluent and 750,000 tonnes of barley residue produced annually by the £4billion malt whisky industry. It is reported that the processing of these residues by Celtic Renewables could add in excess of £100 million per annum to the Scottish economy.
Company CEO, Mark Simmers said “This recognition is a wonderful accolade. Working with Martin to take his idea from research to market has been a tremendous experience and we are very proud of what we have achieved”.
L-R Fred MacAulay, Dr Lena Wilson CEO Scottish Enterprise, Prof Martin Tangney, President Celtic Renewables, Mark Simmers CEO Celtic Renewables