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Four collaborative projects have been successful with their entries in Interface’s multiparty competition this summer.


Tourism businesses offering ‘slow adventures’ in the Highlands and Islands have won £5,000, and visitor attraction experiences for seniors have won almost £10,000 to work with academic expertise for research and development projects.

Meanwhile, the food & drink industry was awarded £10,000 for two separate projects; one looking to improve diagnostic testing of tuberculosis in deer, and the other into the effect of volcanic rock dust fertiliser on the fledgling Scottish honeyberry growing industry.

Interface, the expert matchmaker of businesses and academics for research and development projects, awarded the funding for the four projects as a result of a competition to encourage multiparty collaborations.

Suzanne Dawson, Head of Sector Engagement at Interface, said:

“These four projects were chosen by our panel of judges as they have the potential to not only benefit the groups of businesses and the academic institutes directly involved but also the wider food & drink and tourism sectors.

“Encouraging new products, services and processes is at the heart of what we do and can lead to positive impacts on Scotland’s economy, both in cities and rural areas.

“We look forward to hearing how these projects develop and enable Scottish businesses to be more competitive in national and global markets as they work in partnership with like-minded businesses and our world-leading academics."

Interface is about to launch a second round of its multiparty competition, on 12 September 2017, inviting more groups of businesses who are working with academics in the creative industries, tourism and food & drink sectors, to submit their project proposals.  

The competition is to drive innovation in each sector and create impacts for the companies involved and for the wider economy. 


Slow adventure businesses and University of the Highlands and Islands

Slow adventure is a new tourism concept which encourages people to enjoy and experience the outdoors at a slower pace and to engage with remote and wild places. The project which will seek to test the validity of a new co-operative venture will be delivered by University of the Highlands and Islands together with four Highlands & Islands tourism businesses.

Senior tourism businesses, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot-Watt University

This project aims to develop an innovative education, socialisation and wellbeing programme focussed on the needs and requirements of over 75 year-olds. It will evaluate the various programmes currently provided by visitor attractions in Edinburgh and devise a cooperative programme that will provide the older visitor with a structured series of activities. The project brings together four companies based near Edinburgh Castle, together with tourism management academics from Edinburgh Napier University in collaboration with a cognitive psychologist from Heriot-Watt University.

Scottish Venison Partnership and the Moredun Research Institute

The development of a novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to use alongside the current skin test for Tuberculosis in deer will be the focus of this project.  The academic team working in partnership with industry will validate its use to ensure high specificity without affecting sensitivity. This will have a significant impact on deer farming transforming the current testing regime to improve the commercial viability of farmed venison.

Berry growers, REMIN and The James Hutton Institute

The aim of this project is to fully understand the agronomic requirements of a potentially lucrative new berry crop to Scotland’s food and drink industry, the honeyberry.

Through studying the crop in conjunction with an innovative organic, Scottish-produced volcanic rock dust fertiliser, this project will enable the partners involved to understand and potentially fully diversify into an exciting new fruit crop. 

The funding awarded to each project will be matched by the businesses in kind or in cash.