Edinburgh Stanford Link

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The Edinburgh Stanford Link is a £6 million, 5 year initiative funded by Scottish Enterprise to foster collaborative research and commercialisation links between the Human Communication Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh and the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.[1] Starting in Feb 2002,[2] the programme focuses on speech and language processing technology. There are two core parts to the Link, the commercial programme and the student programme. The former focuses on working with commercial companies and the latter focuses on fostering a culture of entrepreneurship within the University of Edinburgh. They are located in Level 8 in Appleton Tower, Crichton Street, Edinburgh.


The Edinburgh Stanford link has two major facets; the first is working with Scottish companies to facilitate technology transfer, the second is working with the School of Informatics to foster an entrepreneurial culture. This includes teaching three entrepreneurship courses at the University of Edinburgh. Broken down further, the Link considers the following as their core activities:[3]

  • Research in Speech and Language Processing; cutting edge research in Speech and Language Processing
  • CEO Masterclasses; small scale, invite only Masterclasses held with a prominent technology speaker (these tend to be speakers from the Silicon Valley Speaker Series – see below)
  • Undergraduate and Postgraduate Entrepreneurship Courses; see Student Courses below
  • Industrial Placements; creating placements for staff and students for research projects
  • Creating links with U.S.; promotion of Scottish companies within the United States. This includes an annual trip to the MediaX conference held by Stanford University[4]
  • Consultancy in Research and Development; advice on Research and Development strategies for Scottish companies
  • Silicon Valley Speaker Series; a series of talks by Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs, inspired by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program

Core Research Activities[edit]

The Link's research activities are focused around Speech and Language technologies. These include:[5]

  • Speech recognition
  • Speech synthesis
  • Spoken dialogue systems
  • Information extraction & entity recognition
  • Question and answering
  • Summarisation

Student Courses[edit]

The Link runs three courses:

In addition, the creation of an online course for distance learning students are underway and is expected to be available in 2008.

Silicon Valley Speaker Series[edit]

The Silicon Valley Speaker Series was inspired by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Starting in 2004,[6] it features Silicon Valley based entrepreneurs speaking on current trends and emerging sectors. The format is an hour-long talk at 6.30pm, followed by 30mins of questions, and an hour-long networking session in the foyer on the University of Edinburgh Business School in Bristo Square (next to Potterrow).


Date Topic Speaker
Tuesday 18 October 2005 "On raising early stage financing from venture capitalists" David Cremin, DFJ Frontier
Tuesday 1 November "On Presentation and Pitching" Bill Joos, Garage Technology Ventures
Tuesday 7 March 2006 "On Business Models: innovation and making money" Sean Foote, Labrador Ventures
Tuesday 14 March "On bootstrapping a Company from Scratch" Ken Hess
Tuesday 21 March "On Building a C2C internet business" Jessica Harwick, Swapthing


Date Topic Speaker
6 February 2007 "On Design and Creativity" David Law, co-founder of Speck Product Design
21 February 2007 "On the Culture of the Internet and Online Communities" Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist
20 March 2007 "How to Start a Venture Capital Fund" Trevor Loy, Flywheel Ventures
13 March 2007 "On Venture Capital Financing in Silicon Valley" Randy Haykin, Outlook Ventures


Date Topic Speaker
17 October 2007 "On Practices of Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Firms" Bart Balocki
1 November 2007 "Blogs and Wikis: Growing influences and markets of the internet" Mark Fletcher
14 November 2007 "Innovation in Internet Advertising" William Urschel, CEO of AdECN
21 November 2007 "Venture Capital Investment Strategy in Cleantech" Alex Sloan, Expansion Capital Partners
23 April 2008 "The Trials and Tribulations of an eLearning Spinout" Mike Clouser


The Link organised the first BarCamp to be held in Scotland – Barcamp 2007. The next Scottish BarCamp (BarCamp 2008) is to be held on 1 and 2 Feb in Edinburgh, 2008.


The current team is composed of[7] (in alphabetical order):

  • Aghlab Al-Attili, Research Associate
  • Laura Rich, ERDF Project Administrator
  • George Bett, Senior Developer (no more)
  • Margaret Caddick, Senior Secretary (no more)
  • Ray Carrick, Software Architect
  • Mike Clouser, Associate
  • Keith Edwards, Commercial Manager
  • Sue Fitt, Senior Developer
  • Danny Helson, Commercial Executive
  • John Lee, Academic Co-ordinator

See also[edit]


External links[edit]