Six Scottish start-ups locate to the Higgs Centre for Innovation

An image of the Higgs Centre for Innovation

At the Higgs Centre for Innovation, start-ups are developing their technologies to tackle the real world problems and challenges we face today.

Six pioneering start-ups have located to the Higgs Centre of Innovation in Edinburgh. This is where advanced research facilities, expertise and business support will help them take their technologies, and businesses, to the next level.

From smarter prosthetics and drone security, to advanced robotics for sustainable waste management, the range of businesses locating to the Higgs Centre is exciting and vast.

The Higgs Centre is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). It is co-located with the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC) and Edinburgh University’s Institute for Astronomy, at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.

It is playing an important role in the growth and success of Scottish technology start-ups.

Unlocking economic opportunities

Here, businesses gain affordable and flexible access to high-specification laboratories and equipment, on-site technical expertise and comprehensive business support that would usually be out of reach for a small business.

This means they can overcome their challenges, develop and test their technologies, which reduces risk, cost and time to market.

STFC’s Dr Julian Dines, Head of Innovation at the Higgs Centre, said:

Start-ups are key to fuelling the wider economy and driving productivity, and access to the right tools, skills and support is really important to their success.

The advanced development facilities and expertise here at the Higgs Centre will help these businesses to build on their strengths and innovate, unlocking economic opportunities that lead to growth and job creation.

Innovative start-ups like these are tackling the real world problems and challenges we face today. I look forward to supporting them in their journeys to commercial success, which in turn will benefit the wider economy and society.

From superior prosthetics to advanced robotics

The six new companies to join the Higgs Centre for Innovation are:


Metacarpal is designing a new type of prosthetic hand.

The current industry is focused entirely on electronic solutions, despite the fact that the much older body-powered devices are more popular and functionally better.

Metacarpal updates this old, yet user-loved technology, which will result in a more effective product that users feel confident to wear. It is also updated at a price far below any other comparable device in the prosthetic market.

At the Higgs Centre, the company is refining its prototype, with a view to commercialisation next year.


BioLiberty has designed a robotic glove, designed to strengthen grip, develop natural strength and restore independent living, for those affected by hand weakness, for example through stroke or multiple sclerosis.

At the Higgs Centre, BioLiberty is using the wealth of electronic expertise available on site, more commonly applied to the exploration of the universe, to refine its digital therapy platform. This will provide the user with tailored exercises to help develop their natural hand strength.

Danu Robotics

Danu Robotics is developing an advanced robotic system that could help the recycling and waste management industry to increase recycling efficiency dramatically.

Its technology can reduce the contamination rate from current level of 50 to 10% to below 1% while saving on operating costs.

Danu’s solution is designed to be:

  • sustainable
  • affordable
  • flexible
  • scalable.

It can be used by any recycling facility worldwide regardless of its size, current technology or location, in both developed nations and developing countries.

At the Higgs Centre, Danu is assembling and testing the various technologies present in its sophisticated robot prior to its deployment in the real world.

Gibson Robotics

Gibson Robotics is developing advanced aerial platforms to tackle specific problems in the security industry.

Its technology is designed to protect civilians, infrastructure, and restricted airspace from aerial threats, as well as to support anti-piracy operations in merchant ship waters. Its high-speed drones use a net-capture system that can autonomously hunt down and physically capture a malicious drone.

The design can also supplement police helicopter operations with a safer, environmentally friendly and public health friendly alternative to heavy fuel-consuming helicopters.

The company is using the vibration and environmental testing facilities at the Higgs Centre to advance its aerial safety and operating limits, while enhancing the capabilities of its aerial platforms.


OGI Bio is supporting the medical research sector with the development of a new device that automates microbial culturing.

Microbial culturing is an important diagnostic method of microbiology, used as a tool to research and determine the cause of infectious disease.

OGI BIO’s technology will improve processing capability, cost effectiveness and data analytics, enabling biologists to innovate more productively, flexibly, and sustainably.

At the Higgs Centre, the company is using STFC’s expertise in various forms of spectroscopy to meet its customers’ needs.

Morphic Technology

Morphic Technology is using satellite technologies in the development of a product that enables instant, seamless outdoor group sports communications.

Using Bluetooth headsets, and advanced communication technology via a smartphone app, it enables a fast and safe way to speak with other group members during outdoor activities, such as cycling and skiing. You can connect with other group members at the click of one button, without the inconvenience of having to stop to use a mobile or worry about connectivity.

The company has joined the Higgs Centre, as part of the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre United Kingdom. This is a programme managed by STFC designed to help start-ups use space and satellite technologies to develop new products and services.

Vibrant community of innovative businesses

Businesses locating at the Higgs Centre gain unique access to the support, expertise and innovation opportunities offered at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, an internationally recognised campus.

An image of the Higgs Centre for Innovation

Higgs Centre for Innovation. Credit: STFC

They also gain access to some of the UK’s leading space expertise at the UKATC, and Edinburgh University’s big-data analytics expertise.

Journey towards commercial success

STFC’s Ruairidh Henderson, Business Incubation Manager at the Higgs Centre, said:

It’s really exciting to be welcoming these new companies to the Higgs Centre, a vibrant and growing community of pioneering, early-stage businesses.

With our facilities, capabilities and expertise we can support them in these critical, early stages of their journey towards commercial success.

There are a number of options available to businesses at the Higgs Centre for Innovation whether it involves:

  • taking part in a business incubation programme
  • leasing an exclusive-use lab
  • flexible access to bench space and high-specification equipment.

Get involved

Find out more about the Higgs Centre for Innovation.

Find out how STFC can support your business.

Top image:  Higgs Centre for Innovation. Credit: STFC

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