T here is plenty to look forward to in 2017. In fact, there has been a buzz around Interface since the start of the year as we gear up for The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards on 21 February.
The judges met to go through the high-calibre applications from business-academic collaborations which have made a difference, whether to everyday life or tackling specific industry issues.
The anticipation of which partnerships have triumphed in the awards – which occupy a unique place in Scotland – will only continue to build over the next few weeks, culminating in a day of discovery, networking and celebration on 21 February. We are anticipating more than 300 people from business and academia will converge at RBS Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh, to find out who will go home with one of the coveted awards.
The five categories are:
Innovation of the Year – for an innovative product, process or service that has been developed with a university or research institution;
Building Skills through Knowledge Exchange – 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;
Sustained Partnership – for a partnership that has demonstrated long term benefits to both the business and the academic teams;
Multi-Party Collaboration – 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.
Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange – recognises an individual who has played a pivotal role in knowledge exchange in Scotland.
Before the awards are presented, we have a fantastic line-up of speakers, who have all “walked the walk” of partnering with academic teams. The keynote speaker, Brigadier David Allfrey, Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, will no doubt inspire as he outlines how innovation percolates through all that they do. Expect insightful words of wisdom from someone who has bountiful ideas and how they become a reality.
We have also invited businesses and organisations Interface has successfully matched to share their stories of collaboration.
Eurobiotix, CM2000, Scottish Ballet and Sunamp have different stories of partnering with academic teams and we understand that for businesses thinking of taking the first step in this direction, it is valuable to hear directly from others who have already taken this path.
We also recognise that businesses can be concerned about the legal aspects of intellectual property, which is why we are delighted that one of our sponsors Marks & Clerk LLP will be running two sessions on trademarks and patents.
We will also hear about benefits and impacts from past winners: Macphie of Glenbervie, UK’s leading food manufacturer for premium bakery ingredients, bakery supplier and foodservice solutions and LoadFast Systems a global Engineering and Manufacturing company, in a panel session.
With Scottish universities and research institutions showcasing their areas of expertise within the exhibition area, the awards provide a unique opportunity to find out what is on offer all under one roof.
Last year was the inaugural Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, open to all business-academic partnerships in Scotland. It built upon the Interface Excellence Awards and is a unique event in Scotland. Day in, day out, conversations take place between business people and academic experts about developing, testing and creating products, processes and services. Often I describe it as a “win-win” situation, with benefits to both parties: allowing businesses to target new markets, refine products, retain members of staff or grow their teams and enabling the academic institution to apply research to real situations.
We have an excellent track record of finding perfect partners: since 2005 we have matched almost 3,500 businesses to academic expertise and there is plenty of potential for more.
Register now and join us for a day of learning, networking and above all, celebrating the impacts and achievements of commercial-academic partnerships which are leading the way in growing our economic and improving our society.
Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface