Glasgow to see Stars in the Valley

Glasgow University is joining the Stars (Scottish Technology and Research) by opening an office in the heart of Silicon Valley in California next month to promote its innovative spin-out companies.

The Star centre system is the brainchild of Scottish Trade International, the export agency run jointly by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Executive. It acts as an incubator for Scottish business, offering companies a base for networking opportunities in the US.

Glasgow will now have a shop window in the world's best-known technology marketplace, through an office in STI's Star centre in San Jose. Based in the international business incubator, the centre promotes itself as bridging two of the most powerful world markets - the US and the Pacific Rim.

Glasgow will also have a "virtual" presence in two other Star centres in Virginia and Florida, and STI is set to open a fourth centre in Houston, Texas, to capitalise on opportunities in energy, telecommunications and medical technology markets.

The university's office will be staffed by members of its own research and enterprise unit, who will use the base to build up contacts with technology companies, seek joint ventures for research and development, negotiate deals and promote Glasgow's leading-edge research capability.

Cathy Garner, Glasgow's director of research and enterprise, said: "Taking leading-edge Scottish technology start-ups to the heart of Silicon Valley is the next logical step in our commercialisation activity. Speed to market is critical for success and we need to think globally from the start. We are building new technology companies that need to be exposed to the world and where better than the cradle of innovation in the Valley?" Les Brown, director of STI, said: "This bold step is a watershed for the University of Glasgow and gives a tremendous boost to the national effort to commercialise and internationalise the innovative ideas born out of Scotland's research capability.

"Our Star centre network will support the university and its spin-out companies in every possible way by getting close to customers and technology and equity partners in the fast-moving US marketplace."

Sir Graeme Davies, Glasgow's principal, said the move was a ground-breaking initiative for Scottish universities.

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