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How Time Flies! Catching Up With Jacqui Matthews, CSO

Jul 15, 2021 | Roslin Technologies

How time flies! Our Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Jacqui Matthews, has been with Roslin Technologies for two years, spearheading our vision for the science of sustainable protein. We caught up with her to find out more about her role – and what excites her most about the future. 

What exactly does a Chief Scientific Officer do?

As CSO at Roslin Tech I take charge of moving our science forward – a jack of all trades, considering our wide project pipeline! I weave everything together from a scientific perspective, working with our strategic, academic, and sometimes our commercial partners.

It is an exciting mix of both high-level oversight on all projects and deep dives into certain ones at specific times, to ensure our technical pipeline is robust and successful. My role allows me to highlight how our innovative science can be game-changing in our key industries and how potential investment can help us reach our goals.

As CSO I need to acquire a lot of knowledge and implement a wide range of activities around our projects – from a lifelong learning perspective this is something I absolutely love about my role.

How has your role transformed since you took charge?

As for many companies, 2020 and into 2021 has been challenging. Having to work from home when I am usually in the office, especially for a majority lab-based company like Roslin Tech, changed how I work. If anything, the number of meetings I have has increased.

A real benefit of working from home is that I’ve been able to meet more people on our journey. It’s been great to share our scientific advances with academics, investors and strategic partners alike, highlighting our innovative pipeline and how they can work with us or invest in the science of sustainable protein. This has been especially important as we move towards our next fundraise. 

What’s most important for you in your role?

As CSO, I drive the scientific vision of the company to make the most of our own great technologies, and deliver on our academic partnerships, such as our unique link with the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh. Our Head of Laboratory Science, Dr Joe Mee, and our Innovation and Engagement Manager, Dr Karen Fairlie-Clarke, do fantastic work in helping turn the science into industry-disrupting innovations. 

Tell us about the range of projects that Roslin Tech works on

We work on academic and commercial projects, all highly innovative! We work closely with universities and organisations both close to home and further afield.

Our pipeline model bridges the gap between science and our core markets, AgTech, FoodTech, and Animal Health. Academia can come up with novel ways of solving industry challenges; we often partner with researchers to help drive the next steps to impact and commercial exploitation and scale up. Our investment model anchors us to our target markets, ensuring we have commercial targets in sight as we align our offerings to sector needs.

We also know that the future is important. The future of food sustainability (and how what we offer fits in to this), the future industry needs (and where the next challenges lie), and the future scientists in the field. We support PhD students through our connections with the Roslin Institute – offering support and industry experience to the next generation of scientists focused on sustainable food systems. 

Do you have a favourite project?

Probably, cultivated meat! Our novel induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines have a clear place in the market to make cultivated meat affordable and showcase the outputs of our amazing Science Team.

Our iPS cell lines for cultivated meat have massive future potential as we widen our species targets, and we have won several grants to support our progress, as we increase our headcount and resource.

I think another reason our iPS cell lines are so exciting to work on is that the scientific advances happen so fast, with one patent filed and another about to be submitted! 

Would you say that Roslin Tech plays an important role in industry?

Roslin Tech works closely with all its target markets. This is important as it allows us to listen to industry needs and apply innovative solutions to address the key challenges and current gaps.

We work in high growth disruptive markets that are looking for transformative ideas and offer novel solutions, finding a clear route to apply our technologies. 

What is the most exciting industry Roslin Tech work in?

All of them! Every one of the industries we work in are fantastic and have one thing in common – innovation addressing environmental and sustainability challenges.  

What are your favourite success stories in the company? 

There has been a lot of success on the science side of the business! 

My top theme would be how we have managed to refine our offering and build our pipeline to ensure that it’s ambitious across various industries. We now have several achievements that have helped us fulfil our vision in the science of sustainable protein. This is backed up by our fantastic Science Team. In 3 years, we have gone through the process of development, proof of concept, validation, internal QC, patent filing, to client onboarding and use! We are continuing to increase our research and development of new species lines as we grow. 

Tell us about the future 

We have a strong core foundation. We have lined up the right building blocks, getting ready to go from strength to strength. We have ambitious plans, and supported by significant investment, will allow us to become a global force. 

I’m excited for the growth phase we are entering. Our Executive Team have been mapping out clear plans for expanding our capabilities and expertise to address the needs of the sectors we are working in. I’m looking forward to implementing them as we continue our evolution!