“The RSE Enterprise Fellowship was the most significant turning point in my career following my PhD. Living the experience of company formation, winning business and establishing corporate processes was invaluable.”

Murray Collins
Murray Collins, NERC funded RSE Enterprise Fellow 2017-18

Recognising that deforestation is one of the world’s largest environmental problems – driving climate change, depriving the poorest people of essential raw materials and causing huge biodiversity loss – Murray saw that there was a huge demand for forest monitoring services in the market. In response, he formed Space Intelligence during his RSE Enterprise Fellowship; a company that uses satellite data analysis to provide maps of forests, deforestation and forest degradation to organisations in the private and public sectors.

Murray is one of the first entrepreneurs on the RSE Enterprise Fellowship programme to be funded by the NERC who joined the scheme in 2017. NERC supports researchers working within their remit of terrestrial, marine, freshwater, science-based archaeology, atmospheric and polar sciences, and Earth observation.

Since completing the Fellowship, Murray has been developing the company’s core technology and data analysis offering through new mapping contracts in West Africa which aim to support sustainable development in the region. His company has also produced a major report on ‘Space Solutions for Forestry in Developing Countries’ for the UK Space Agency, which has raised the profile of Space Intelligence within this community. These developments, combined with the business skills acquired on the Enterprise Fellowship, have resulted in Murray being offered a new role at the University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor’s Fellow in Space and Satellite Analysis. This is a new post; established as a hybrid position working between enterprise and academia. In this role he will work under the remit of the Accelerating Growth City Region Deal and is mandated to deliver economic growth through data-driven innovation, supporting existing SMEs including Space Intelligence, and also driving the developments of new technology-based start-ups across SE Scotland. He will carry out this work alongside his CEO role at Space Intelligence.

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