The RSE Economy and Enterprise Committee (formerly the Business Innovation Forum) was convened in 2010 with the aim of identifying and stimulating processes to increase collaboration between business and academia in Scotland. The membership comprises a broad range of experience from Scotland’s business and academic communities. The committee remit was revised and updated in 2019 and is included below.

Committee Purpose

The RSE Economy and Enterprise Committee will focus on the means of enhancing the economy (defined to include wider economic and social wellbeing) through consideration of issues such as skills, fair work, business development, enterprise, and innovation. It will:

  • Inform and respond to key policy developments and initiatives relating to the economy (including fiscal policy) through, for example, consultation responses, policy advice and facilitating discussion and debate.
  • Be forward-thinking and proactive in identifying and addressing longer-term issues and policy challenges relating to the economy / economic wellbeing.
  • Advise Council on the future direction and development of the RSE’s Enterprise Fellowships programme and any future programmes in this area.
  • Advise the RSE staff and Council on effective engagement with the business community and be proactive with regard to that engagement.
  • Be guided by the Programme Committee on resources, priorities, strategic fit and links with other work.
  • Seek to ensure that its advice and other activity brings together expertise from both academia and business practice.
  • Work collaboratively with other relevant groups and organisations where there are benefits in doing so.

operational process

  • Meeting frequency: The committee shall meet at least four times per year.
  • The Convener is responsible for signing off submissions and external engagement by the Committee. RSE General Secretary is responsible for signing off Economy and Enterprise Committee responses on behalf of the Society.
  • Activities outwith meetings: Ad hoc roundtables and seminars.
  • Committee quorum: Four members, including Convener or Member of Council.
  • Delegated budgetary responsibility: To remain within the budget as set by Council. If projects or initiatives arise which would go beyond this, a case must be presented to Council or the appropriate Office Bearer with delegated powers of approval.
  • Reports to: RSE Council, RSE Scotland Foundation Trustees.

Committee Activities


Since being established in 1997, the RSE Enterprise Fellowship scheme has supported more than 200 researchers to develop and launch new businesses, with companies formed across a wide range of fields – from tidal energy generation and safety systems for the oil and gas industry, to insect repellents and communication solutions for sufferers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Enterprise Fellowship Awards are specifically designed to support academic researchers in becoming outstanding entrepreneurs. Enterprise Fellows get access to the most up-to-date training in entrepreneurial skills, delivered to the highest standard of international excellence by individuals who have a proven track record of commercial success. Awardees are further supported to establish and grow their businesses via one year’s salary and business development funding to cover costs associated with attending conferences and trade shows.

An evaluation and economic impact assessment was carried out by economic consultancy BiGGAR Economics in 2019, it found that the programme:

to annual global gross value added (GVA)
Jobs have been created
Businesses created


We examined Scotland’s efforts to tackle inequality, analysed its policy evolution, compared progress with the rest of the UK, and explored the interplay between policies, enhanced equality, and economic growth.
The report calls for policy on the transition to be promoted as an investment opportunity, including job creation and global competitiveness,
The third sector plays a pivotal role in addressing societal challenges but it’s often overlooked in government economic strategies.
The RSE believes that council tax cannot be made ‘fairer’ while still using out-of-date valuations from 1991.
The prices in remote rural communities for some essential goods were already higher than those in urban centres.
The RSE’s response to the Scottish Parliament Covid-19 Committee’s inquiry on the impact of Covid-19 on labour market inactivity.
The RSE responds to an inquiry on post-pandemic economic growth focusing on the Scottish labour market with its unique challenges.
The RSE’s response to the British Business Bank (BBB) on their call for evidence around access to early-stage finance in Scotland.
The review was commissioned by the Scottish Government and focuses on the role the sector can play in the economic recovery post-Covid, specifically the output of technology start-ups and spinouts in Scotland.
In addition to addressing the 6 questions posed by the consultation, the RSE response also highlighted several key themes for Scottish Government to consider, including Scotland’s priorities at the UK level, intergovernmental relations, and the macro-economic environment.
The RSE has submitted a response to the Scottish Government regarding the proposed ‘grand challenges’ (missions), in which the Scottish National Investment Bank (the Bank) will invest.
The RSE has provided a letter response to the Muscatelli Report into the economic impact of Scottish universities.
The Chief Executive of the RSE, Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, has written to Audrey Cumberford and Dr Paul Little in response to their review into the economic impact of Scotland’s colleges.
The RSE has provided a response to a call for evidence from Sir Anton Muscatelli into his review of the role Scottish universities play in working with industry in stimulating inclusive growth.
The RSE has responded to a Call for Evidence from the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy, and Fair Work Committee on the Bill for a Scottish National Investment Bank.

Committee Membership

Contact the Economy and Enterprise Committee

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