Interface forges key R&D relationships between business and academia – Prof Andrea Nolan

Professor Andrea Nolan, Chair, Interface Strategic Board

Primarily funded by the Scottish Funding Council, as well as Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise, the impacts of these business-university partnerships the team has facilitated have been far-reaching and have gained recognition across the board. ‘Interface in Scotland and internationally. .

The contribution to the Scottish economy from research and development projects between business and academia enabled by Interface was £88.9 million GVA (gross value added) supporting 1,595 jobs, with expectations to reach 222, £3m GVA and 3,193 jobs.

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In total, the Business Engagement team translated over 6,100 business challenges for submission to Scottish academic institutions. Interface is a small organization with a large reach – having facilitated 3,000 collaborative projects with nearly 2,000 unique businesses is a remarkable achievement. In addition, Interface has administered nearly 2,000 innovation checks on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council, and nearly 1,800 unique businesses have benefited from this funding. Interface’s inclusive approach means that all rural and urban businesses and communities can access innovation support and ensures delivery of all Scottish Government priorities including health, environment, communities , education, youth and international development.

Interface continues to play a crucial role in building Scotland’s economic resilience through innovation ecosystem brokerage projects that have near-term impacts, for example responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 19, as well as contributing to longer-term goals such as net zero.

Interface’s committed team enables the creation of lasting and effective R&D relationships between companies and universities, with 75% of companies maintaining an ongoing relationship with university partners through the Interface matchmaking service.

From five collaborations in 2005, our first year, to an annual peak of 382 last year, despite the pandemic-induced “lockdown”, we are on track to further increase our engagement this year.

Projects come from all parts of Scotland and all sectors. The last three years have seen a significant increase in projects from the Highlands and Islands, Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire, while the top 5 key industry sectors are:

Creative industries Agribusiness, agriculture and aquaculture Tourism and leisure Engineering and technology Life sciences and chemicals

Questioned following collaborations,

97% of companies said their project would not have been successful or would have taken longer without Interface’s support. For businesses or social enterprises that have not used Interface, it should be noted that

92% of our expert searches have identified capabilities and capabilities within partner universities, research institutes and colleges for consideration by businesses – so solutions to many challenges are likely to be found in Scotland. And following work with a suitable academic partner, 83% of companies saw reduced operating costs, increased productivity, profits, exports, turnover and new or saved jobs.

If you are a business that needs help with new product development, process improvement or want to try a different technology, the interface can help put you in touch with a Scottish university or college top notch, so get in touch with us today.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Chair, Interface Strategic Board