Executive Director Designate Programme

The Executive Director Designate Programme (EDDP) was set up by the University to:

  • increase the number of spin-out companies
  • improve chances of raising seed funding for these spin-out companies
  • in the longer term, improve chances of returns for shareholders in these companies, including the University

How it works

The EDDP funds contracts with Executive Director Designates (EDDs). Each EDD works with an opportunity team proposing to spin out a company to commercialise University-owned technology.

The programme allows the University to pay consultancy fees of individuals sourced from outside the University, or buy out the time of academics, to allow them to focus on spinning out these companies.

The EDDP can fund CEO, Sales Director, Technical Director, Finance Director and Executive Chairman Designates. The EDDP can sometimes fund more than one individual for an opportunity.

An EDD will be contracted for a pre-start spin-out only after an approved Endorsement (see Endorsement Process). The identity of the appointee, and the nature of the role, has to be agreed by both the Opportunity Team and RKES.

The usual length of contract with an EDD is six months, pre-formation only, and EDDs are typically appointed on the basis that it should be possible to launch the relevant spin-out shortly after this time period. Payment is on the basis of a monthly fee. Contracts are terminated if in the view of the EDD, the academic team, or RKES, the process no longer appears likely to result in a spin-out.

The choice of the preferred candidate is based upon:

  • chemistry with the opportunity team
  • relevance of experience
  • likely attractiveness as Executive Director of spin-out to potential funders
  • willingness to engage with the University at budgeted fee level, on basis of fee well below conventional consulting day rates
  • long-term commitment, and a desire for a shareholding in a growth technology company
  • appropriate due diligence being carried out by RKES (track record with early stage companies, conflicts of interest, previous directorships, prior knowledge of individuals)
  • appropriate references

Assistance in recruiting the EDD will be provided by RKES and is typically achieved through know contacts, advertising or engaging with existing networks.  The identity of the EDD will be agreed between the opportunity team and RKES prior to an offer to the proposed EDD being made. 

EDDP is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is available for use by all Scottish universities.