5 Mar 2017
On behalf of the SCI Scotland Group, Dr Jan Ramakers (pictured), SCI Trustee and Scotland Group Committee Member, attended the Scottish Knowledge Exchange* Awards on 21 February 2017. The event was held at RBS Gogarburn, Edinburgh and was hosted by Interface - Interface is the knowledge connection for business connecting companies with academics who can help them advance processes and technologies.
A Fife fruit and vegetable wholesaler who had a ‘eureka moment’ in the middle of the night picked up the coveted Innovation of the Year award.
New legislation preventing fast food outlets from disposing of food and starch waste in public drains prompted Malcolm Wood to come up with an affordable, compact starch filtration system, PeelTech.
Malcolm, of Ivan Wood and Sons, worked with Abertay University to develop his idea after business-academic matchmakers, Interface connected the two partners.
The judges noted the significant innovation behind the product in meeting environmental and regulatory needs, while demonstrating a clear commercial opportunity in the UK and overseas.
Meanwhile, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate from Abertay University who worked with Ivan Wood & Sons to improve the PeelTech filtration system triumphed in the Building Skills through Knowledge Exchange category.
Lee-Anne McGee redesigned and validated the filtration system, reducing waste materials and generating sales within the UK and Europe. Lee-Anne implemented a Food Quality Management System, which resulted in significant cost savings to both the company wages and packaging. She also impressed the judges by developing a high quality vegetable stock from the recovered starch to be sold as a new product to the food service industry.
SCI sponsored the Sustained Partnership award, giving free one-year membership to the winners:
MacTaggart Scott and Heriot Watt University celebrate their relationship which started in 2011 with an undergraduate mechanical engineering design project and expanded to electrical and mechanical projects, including a Knowledge Transfer Partnership and studentships. The sustained partnership, which continues today, spanned several schools at the university including the Institute of Sensors, Signals and Systems.
Vascutek and the University of Strathclyde received a special commendation in this category. The collaboration between the medical device manufacturer and the university has included research and development through three PhDs and two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and has resulted in improved product design and new knowledge embedded in the company.
Both partnerships are role models of how academia and industry can work together over the longer term to benefit teaching and research within Universities and profitability within the businesses.
Other winners were:
Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange
Professor Lee Innes of the Moredun Research Institute took away the Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange award to celebrate her career which has been built around knowledge exchange between scientific researchers and a broad range of stakeholders, including the livestock industry, Scottish Government and primary schools.
Flow Assurance and Scale Team (FAST): A collaboration between NALCO Champion, Shell UK and Heriot Watt University who came together in 2015 to improve SQUEEZE, a game-changing software technology used extensively by the oil & gas industry all over the world to prevent scale from forming in wells.
Interface Director, Siobhán Jordan, said:
‘We have had some truly inspirational individuals and collaborations celebrated at today’s awards ceremony. The day has been a fantastic showcase of what can be achieved when business and academia come together. The standard of entries was incredibly high and the judges had some tough decisions to make. Each of the finalists really demonstrated how collaborations can boost innovation, drive company growth to support the economy and position Scotland as a CAN DO nation.”
Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: ‘I would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners who have been recognised for their outstanding work at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards. ‘Today’s awards celebrate the knowledge exchange activities and projects that happen all over Scotland, bringing people together to further forge new partnerships and collaborations. These are truly innovative projects between our businesses and academia from all disciplines and are crucial for improving productivity and creating sustainable economic growth, whilst playing a vital role in shaping Scotland’s future.’
*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 inform their teaching and research from their experience of working with businesses and organisations.
These partnerships often 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.
The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards are the only awards celebrating all projects and partnerships that are created by Scottish higher education and research institutions.