Category Archives: Life sciences

What’s so special about Specialist Facilities?

Laser cutting of metal sheet with sparks

By Heather Alexander, Marketing Manager, Interface

We officially launched our Specialist Facilities platform and accompanying promotional video last week – I hope you’ve managed to take a look!
So, what’s so special about Specialist Facilities?

Scotland has a huge resource of world class and highly specialised facilities throughout each one of its universities and research institutions – this in its self is pretty special but when you combine it with the academic and technical knowledge they become a very valuable solution for commercial business projects.

We have some great examples of companies that have used Specialist Facilities as part of their R&D activities:

Scotlab used computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing at the University of Strathclyde to create their Altium-i10, a portable device that would simulate the effects of high altitudes to be used by athletes to improve performance. They later also worked with the University of the West of Scotland to evaluate the performance capability and functionality of the device through field tests.
The natural dog treat company PAWsitively Natural conducted nutritional and shelf life analysis of their four flavours of dog treats with Glasgow Caledonian University which helped in the process of bringing the products to market.

And Kanthal, a manufacturer of silicon carbide heating element rods worked with Edinburgh Napier University to test the bending strength of their carbon rods to understand their robustness and versatility within the manufacturing process.

As you can see from these case studies there is a varied range of facilities and expertise that companies can access and it has been a real eye opener for me to identify the vast range of facilities that are available – so much in fact that we simply couldn’t include everything on our website and in the video. The video has been a great way to bring to life some of these facilities, showing how they can be used and taking the viewer into the environment.

So, if you’re looking for a piece of equipment or facility that you don’t see in our video or on our website don’t worry, from our partner base of Scotland’s 23 universities and research institutions we will be able to locate it and match you into the right expertise for your project.

Contact us to find your Specialist Facilities match.

Biodundee brings University Technology to life

Heather-webBy Heather Alexander, Marketing Executive, University Assets, and recently-appointed Marketing Manager of Interface

With BioDundee nearly upon us, and one of the main event themes this year being commercialisation, it provides a fitting opportunity for me to share some of the extensive expertise that our universities can offer to businesses within the life sciences sector. Continue reading

Inspiration at BioDundee


By Dr Richard Gregson, Intellectual Property Rights Manager, University of Dundee

“Healthcare: An Innovative Multi-disciplinary Approach.”  At first glance, the official tagline for the 2015 BioDundee conference seemed to be a variation on a well-trodden topic. Similarly, I thought the main conference themes: Precision Medicine, Big Data and Regenerative Medicine were merely revisiting familiar ground. Continue reading

The future is now







 By Shelley Breckenridge

As an avid sci-fi fan I am well versed in the genre’s tradition of predicting future technologies – however mind-boggling they seem at the time. From H.G. Wells horrifying depiction of genetic engineering in The Island of Dr. Moreau to Star Trek “communicators” providing the inspiration for the mobile phone, there are many excellent examples of science fiction acting as a precursor to science fact. With that in mind, I was intrigued to read that scientists from St Andrews University have created a real-life “tractor” beam, as featured in the Star Trek movies, which for the first time allows a beam of light to attract objects. The technology will most likely have applications in life sciences rather than space travel but nonetheless I find it tremendously inspiring to see seemingly futuristic technology come out of Scotland and make headlines around the globe.

Back on earth we at Interface are as busy as ever. In addition to the many events mentioned in previous blogs, I am once again on the road hosting 1:1 innovation clinics in the West of Scotland. I am delighted to say that we will be taking part in Lanarkshire Business Week for the first time and our clinics will be co-delivered with Scottish Enterprise on Wednesday 6th March. Later that month I’ll be teaming up with Culture Sparks to offer 1:1 advice sessions for creative businesses in Glasgow. These are great opportunities to sound out any innovation ideas you may have and some terrific projects have come out of previous events so please just email me if you want to have a chat!

The Phone Line has now Closed!

 By Bev Montgomery

The closing date has now passed for applications for the Interface Excellence Awards and the number of responses as well as the high caliber of entries reflects the contribution the knowledge exchange economy has made to Scotland over the last year. The judging panel met yesterday and an announcement will be made next week as to the companies shortlisted for the awards. Thanks to everyone who submitted an application and good luck to the companies who were nominated. Watch this space for the results!

The marketing team also met up yesterday for our first ever planning day. With Posy up in Inverness and Donna and me in Edinburgh, we don’t often get to meet up so we took advantage of Posy’s trip to Edinburgh to liaise with the awards judging panel and whisked her away for an afternoon of planning, process streamlining and ideas generation. Numerous cups of tea and cream scones were thrown in for good measure.

With so many successful academic and commercial partnerships in Scotland, the Interface marketing team is never short of case studies to both write about and use to illustrate the types of projects we get involved with. We do, however, also want to hear what you have to say and recognise the importance of Facebook as a medium for interacting, sharing and learning. So for the next few months, the marketing team will be actively working on our site to publish information of interest to you. Please help us to tailor this information to your needs by ‘liking’ us, commenting on our status updates, and sharing our posts.

As always, you can meet up with us at one of our events. Gaining a CE mark: reasons, regulations, risk assessments, rewards will be held in Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow on the 1st, 15th and 29th November, respectively, and Nutritious & Sustainable Foods for the Future will be held in Stirling on the 7th November. We look forward to seeing you there.

“We are such stuff As dreams are made on…”

 By Kathryn Fraser

I couldn’t be more thrilled that the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded this week to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for their work on stem cells. Stem cells have the potential to become any cell in the body and as such are the Lego bricks of life. Gurdon showed what it was possible to do with these bricks and it was amazing, but furthering research by getting hold of the stem cells was hard and raised painful ethical debates. The possible solution to this scarcity came more than forty years later, when Yamanaka showed us that we could make these important components from skin cells. This vastly increases the possibilities and the opportunities awaiting us: to study diseases, develop methods for diagnosis and therapy and maybe build organs from our own cells.

Stem cell research is one of Scotland’s strengths in life sciences from the world’s first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep, to regenerative medicine. Interface knows that life sciences companies wish to tap into a wide diversity of expertise from informatics to ethics, and engineering to graphic design; connecting and collaborating with a university can help give businesses the innovative edge that it needs.

If you would like to explore how to tap into new innovations and opportunities arising from the brilliant minds at Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes then get in touch. Alternatively you can meet with us at one of our events. Gaining a CE mark :reasons, regulations, risk assessments, rewards (Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow) or how about Win Win Win. How student engagement can provide multiple benefits to your company, academia and the economy (Edinburgh).

And finally, if you want to give recognition to the contribution academic and commercial partnerships bring to Scotland, don’t forget to get your submissions in for the Interface Excellence Awards 2012! The closing date for entries is Friday 19th October. Good Luck!