Award 2014 image

A celebration of businesses and academic partnerships took a step closer with the announcement of the shortlist in the inaugural Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.
Interface, which is staging the awards in Edinburgh on Thursday, 25th February, received a bumper 60 entries competing to win one of five unique categories including Sustained Partnership, Outstanding Contribution, Multi Party, Building Skills and Innovation of the Year – all of which reward the various elements of business to academic collaboration.

The finalists are:

Innovation of the Year - for an innovative product, process or service that has been developed with a university or research institution. 

Company Location Academic Partner​ Project
CM2000 [Care Monitoring 2000 Limited] Greenock Edinburgh Napier University CM2000 supply visit verification solutions to health and social care providers across the UK. Working with Edinburgh Napier University they have created an algorithm that predicts the likelihood of falls in the home. It is anticipated that the product will generate vast savings for health and social care by reducing hospital admissions, as well as improving wellbeing and quality of life.
Ivan Wood & Sons Ltd Fife Abertay University Ivan Wood & Sons, a pre-prepared fruit and vegetable wholesaler, worked with Abertay University to develop an affordable, compact starch filtration system to comply with new legislation that stops food and starch waste  from vegetables from being deposited in public drains.The resulting product will have a huge impact on food preparation businesses including other wholesalers, restaurants and takeaways across the UK.
Payfont Ltd Edinburgh Edinburgh Napier University Payfont, a Scottish cybersecurity start-up, worked with Edinburgh Napier University to safeguard ‘data at rest’. The partnership has led to the creation of an advanced cloud-based architecture which is robust, 100% secure and already receiving international attention. 
Trtl Glasgow University of Dundee Trtl developed a new travel pillow and worked with the University of Dundee to test the product’s functionality for neck support and allow credible research to be used as a competitive edge to strengthen their unique selling point.

Building Skills Award - Recognising Postgraduate students or Knowledge Transfer Partnership [KTP] Associates who have worked within a business on a specific project to increase innovation within the company.

PhD or KTP Associate Academic Institution Company Project
Tara s Beall University of Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel Glasgow Tara s Beall, a PhD Theatre Studies student from the University of Glasgow, worked with the new Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel to develop a strategy which would increase visitor numbers and community engagement. 
As a result of the project, the Riverside Museum has developed and strengthened collaborative relationships with local organisations and underrepresented communities increasing the number of visitors by 275% from 4,000 to 11,000 over one weekend.
David Grant University of Strathclyde Howden Group Ltd David Grant, a KTP Associate from the University of Strathclyde, was recruited by Howden to create a new process that would ensure timely and cost effective delivery of commercially viable products to the market.
The resulting Product Development Procedure has directly contributed in excess of $175k of savings to Howden, with more savings being predicted as the procedure is rolled out globally in 2016.
Laura Kreiling University of Strathclyde Alexander Dennis Limited Laura Kreiling, a KTP Associate from the University of Strathclyde, undertook a 24-month project to improve engineering resource estimation at Alexander Dennis Ltd, UK's leading bus and coach manufacturer.
A new approach has been developed that cuts the currently manual estimation process, which took up to 5 days, to 30 minutes, saving the company £166,500 a year. The collaboration has resulted in improved competitiveness, sales growth and profitability with an expected saving of £500,000 in New Product Development spend in total over 3 years.
Vittorio Orsi Glasgow Caledonian University ScotRail Vittorio Orsi, a first class honours student from GCU, embarked on a KTP with ScotRail to identify a cost effective strategy to improve the reliability and performance of the Class 158 Diesel Multiple Door Systems.
The monitoring initiative has allowed ScotRail to track the performance of individual doors on the entire Class 158 Fleet and has led to estimated savings of £61,000 - £116,000 per year. 

Sustained Partnership - For a partnership that has demonstrated long term benefits to both the business and the academic teams.

Company Location Academic Partner Project
Brathadair Ltd Edinburgh University of Aberdeen This partnership has developed, and patented, a new environmentally friendly process for the treatment of pot ale – the wastewaters from the first whisky distillation – into valuable products, such as animal feed.
The new process also includes evaporation to reduce the volumes and transportation costs of pot ale concentrate.
Bright Red Publishing Edinburgh Edinburgh Napier University The partners developed a ground-breaking online Digital Zone offering supporting materials for students studying National 5 and Curriculum for Excellence qualifications.
Over 35,000 people have registered for the Digital Zone, and over 1 million test questions have been taken since its launch.
Solar Bear Glasgow Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) This trail-blazing initiative between RCS and Solar Bear Theatre Company helped level the playing field for aspiring actors who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The partnership led to a bespoke degree and a theatre apprenticeship for deaf and hard of hearing actors and explored access and skills development projects for a previously marginalised group of learners.
Soltropy Glasgow Heriot-Watt University Collaborations between Soltropy and Heriot Watt academics started in 2013, and included comparison tests with old style solar thermal systems.
The partnership led to the development of a mass produced, easy to handle, modular solar thermal panel aimed at the UK and pan-European market.

Multi Party Award – recognising groups and consortia across all industry sectors that demonstrate innovation and impact through working together while also having a significant benefit for each individual party.

Company/ Organisation Project/s
Design in Action
Led by University of Dundee
Design in Action is a £5m Art and Humanities Research Council-funded Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy. The Hub’s aim has been to demonstrate “design as a strategy for economic growth and innovation” within the microenterprise and SME sectors.
To date, 13 design-led companies have been supported with commercialisation funding of up to £20,000, professional advice, mentoring and market strategies. Three of these businesses have launched with an annual turnover of £2m+ and another ten expect to launch in the next 6-18 months. 76 jobs have been created as a result of Design in Action KE development funding.
Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre
Led by University of Glasgow
SMS-IC is one of 8 Innovation Centres established in 2012/13 by the Scottish Funding Council as a world-class centre for providing commercial delivery of stratified medicine capabilities. The Centre operates as a 10-member consortium involving Thermo Fisher Scientific, Aridhia, four universities and four NHS Health Boards.
The partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific enabled SMS-IC to create and install a £4m genetics lab using the expert knowledge of molecular biology and DNA sequencing of the top industrial scientists.
The partnership with Aridhia led to the creation of a £2m datacentre which required expert knowledge in computing solutions for big data.
TIC University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre
Led by University of Strathclyde
The University of Strathclyde, Scottish Power Renewables and Scottish and Southern Energy have been working in collaboration to identity and undertake projects in Low Carbon Power and Energy research, delivered at the University’s Technology & Innovation Centre.
The collaboration has led to the development and delivery a three-year core research programme. Phase 1 activity included 13 collaborative research projects, mainly in wind energy, worth £2.58m.

The Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange - recognises an individual who has played a pivotal role in knowledge exchange in Scotland.

Name Overview
Professor Steve Beaumont, University of Glasgow Professor Steve Beaumont has been an ambassador for knowledge exchange in Scotland throughout his ten years as Vice-Principal for Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow.
His commitment to the enterprise agenda led to the foundation of Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd and Compound Semiconductor Technology Ltd, providing services in nanotechnology and optoelectronic device fabrication respectively.
Recognising the importance of supporting academic staff to engage in knowledge exchange activities and research-based impact generation, Steve led the creation of the Glasgow Knowledge Exchange Fund, which aims to encourage and facilitate knowledge exchange activities across the University of Glasgow.
After leaving the position of Vice-Principal in 2013, Steve continues to support world-leading collaborative research in intelligent sensor networks and systems and is the Academic Lead for CENSIS, the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems.
Professor Bill Buchanan, Edinburgh Napier University  Professor Bill Buchanan’s wide and varied KE contributions in cyber security have achieved significant economic impact, sustained existing jobs and created new employment and is enabling Scottish and UK academia beyond just Edinburgh Napier to produce new graduates with the skills required for a fast changing, critical field which transcends corporate and national security.
His research has led to multiple patents all of which are presently being exploited commercially by spinout companies which have secured multiple private sector investments.
Dr Jonathan Snape, James Hutton Ltd, Dundee Dr Jonathan Snape has made a sustained contribution to knowledge exchange in Scotland for more than 18 years through his role as Commercial Director for Mylnefield Research Services Ltd and latterly James Hutton Ltd.
Jonathan has been an ambassador for KE in Scotland for many years, not only between academia and business but also through raising aspirations of school children and raising awareness among politicians.
Jonathan has had a major impact on the uptake of Innovate UK funding by Scottish companies, especially in the AgriTech sector. As a consequence of this funding, a range of molecular markers have been developed for the breeding of soft fruit and potatoes for Scottish growers, leading to new varieties and helping maintain their reputation for world-class produce.

All the shortlisted entries are invited to the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards at the Conference Centre RBS, Gogarburn, at the end of this month (February).
Interface Director, Siobhán Jordan, said:

“We are absolutely delighted with the number and calibre of entries to this inaugural celebration of all knowledge exchange partnerships in Scotland - it makes for a very exciting competition.

“They reflect the breadth and range of collaborations between businesses and organisations of all sizes with our leading academics. These partnerships demonstrate the variety of ways in which businesses and academia are working together to develop products, test ideas and deliver new processes and services which can really make a difference to people’s lives and society.  Moreover the awards clearly demonstrate how knowledge exchange can enhance company growth and enable Scotland to be a world-leading entrepreneurial and enterprising nation.  

“I would urge businesses from all sectors to attend the awards and see at first hand the benefits of collaborating with Scotland’s universities and research institutions.”

For more information please contact:
Suzy Powell
Tel: 07711 273007         
Email: or

Knowledge exchange is a sharing of expertise, ideas and evidence between businesses and universities. The businesses learn from the academic input, but equally the universities can really grow from their experience of working with businesses and organisations.
These partnerships lead to significant benefits including the creation and development of products, processes and services which have a huge impact on improving Scotland’s GVA and stimulating employment. Interface is the only organisation in the UK that works on behalf of all universities and research institutions in Scotland to create these partnerships.

About Interface
Interface is a central contact connecting businesses from a wide variety of national and international industries to Scotland’s 23 higher education and research institutes.  It is a unique service designed to address the growing demand from organisations wanting to engage with academia.
Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and European Structural Funds, Interface is a free and impartial service which aims to stimulate demand for innovation and encourage companies to consider academic support to help solve their business challenges.
Interface helps companies operating across a range of sectors, from food and drink to financial services, offering huge benefits for both businesses and academia.
About the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards
The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards are the first awards to celebrate all projects and partnerships that are created by all Scottish higher education and research institutions.