Milestones and celebrations mark Interface’s impact

By Professor Sir Pete Downes

The arrival of a new year provides a good opportunity to pause and take stock in a fast-paced world that seems ever-changing.

Over the last five years during my tenure as Chair of the Interface Strategic Board, we have witnessed significant advances in academic research alongside ongoing change across political and global economies. Working alongside other members of the Strategic Board, I have been pleased to guide and support the development of Interface to realise tangible success that is evident from independent evaluations, advocacy from companies and academics and the real-life stories of the impacts being delivered. Working closely with academic partners and the business community, the Interface team have ably supported a myriad of new ideas, from new forms of heating for social housing to new digital tools to support greater success in student examinations. The team reached a noteworthy milestone this month too – the 4000th enquiry. That is quite an achievement and is testament to their passion, skill and connections into universities and research institutes for businesses and organisations which might not know where to start searching for academic expertise.

Through the annual Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards the business and academic partners have an opportunity to celebrate success and demonstrate how Scotland is leading the way in impactful knowledge exchange.  And if you want to be inspired, registrations are now open for the 2018 event on 22nd February 2018. I would encourage anyone thinking of collaborating with a university to come along – it promises to be a fantastic afternoon of workshops and high-profile speakers, ending with the awards presentation, and will offer excellent networking opportunities.

Business-academic projects supported by Interface have enabled Scottish companies to generate £64.2 million gross value added (GVA) a year for the Scottish economy, supporting around 1,060 Scottish jobs.

As I step down from Chair I pay tribute to the high quality of the Interface team. Their depth of knowledge, professionalism and customer centric approaches have ensured ongoing success and I look forward to hearing of future developments as Interface realises its ambitions to have a catalytic influence on Scotland’s innovation landscape.

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