Ian Underwood is an award winning academic, innovator and serial technology entrepreneur.
He spent a formative year as a Fulbright fellow at The University of Colorado in the early 1990s where he developed the first product for new spin-out Boulder Nonlinear Systems. Returning to Sce was instrumental in the formation of Micropix Technologies (now Forth Dimension Displays) then he co-founded MicroEmissive Displays in 1998 that raised >£40M and peaked at >75 employees before crashing in flames in 2008 – an early victim of the global financial crisis.
Major recognition includes the Ben Sturgeon Award from the UK Chapter of the SID in 1999, Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year (2003), Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2004), Gannochy Medal for Innovation (2004) (Scotland’s top individual award for innovation comprising a Gold Medal and £50 000),Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2008) and Fellow of the Institute of Physics (2008). His (and his children’s) favorite distinction is a place in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004 for producing “the world’s smallest color tv screen”.He is co-author of the SID/Wiley book entitled Introduction to Microdisplays (Wiley, 2006) and author of six chapters of the Handbook of Visual Display Technology (Springer 2011).
These days, alongside research and teaching, he is active in the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, mentors young technology entrepreneurs and advises pre- and early-stage spin-out companies. Examples include PureLiFi, Holoxica, Optoscribe and Sofant. From 2008 to 2012 he served on the Scottish Science Advisory Council that offers impartial advice to the Scottish Government on matters of science policy.