|12 May 2016|

Scotland

Companies restricted by time or resource are being offered a hand to innovate, thanks to Interface, the business-academic matchmaking service helping Scotland become a key global hub for innovation economy

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From 3D printers to nutritional labs, the exact whereabouts in Scotland of Specialist Facilities are pin-pointed on the new platform, which highlights a snapshot of what is available, along with descriptions of their capabilities and images.

Siobhán Jordan, Director at Interface, said: “For businesses which are looking to create, develop, test and analyse products, this is a fantastic way of them seeing some of the vast range of facilities that are commercially available from our world-leading academic institutions. We thought a great way of showcasing this was through a short film which brings to life just some of the facilities and equipment available with the aim of getting businesses and organisations thinking about how they could tap into these.

“The beauty of these facilities is that they come with the academic expertise ready to work with them on proving concepts or developing innovative products and ideas. Also, it can be a great way to work on small-scale projects, on a pay-as-you-go basis, and in a safe and controlled environment, which may better suit businesses and companies where budgets are tight.

“There is a huge amount of equipment on offer and Interface can help to match businesses to the right facilities and supporting expertise. The platform is a showcase highlighting some of what’s available, however we can talk to businesses about all the Specialist Facilities on offer which could help them innovate, adapt and grow.”

Universities Scotland’s Director, Alastair Sim, said: “We know that businesses need to be innovative to stay ahead and collaborating with Scotland’s universities is exactly how to do it. This new platform will allow more firms to see the university facilities and expertise that are available to them, and make it easier for them to get in touch. Experts within universities are ready to help translate the results of testing into outcomes for businesses, and can also offer in-house assistance, to help take ideas forward.”

Colin Borland, Federation of Small Business’ Head of External Affairs in Scotland, said: “New technologies are forcing changes upon any number of industries. For Scotland to keep up, we need to see more small firms developing partnerships with our world-leading universities.

“We must bust the myth that business innovation isn’t for smaller businesses, especially those in traditional sectors. This important initiative could help build bridges between entrepreneurs and academia.”

Vicki Cameron, founder of StEPS Podiatry in Troon, credits collaborating with academics as giving her a unique selling point. She said: “Working with Interface has enabled me to access the most innovative equipment. That’s been a big innovation for us; really being able to use the most cutting edge technology with the most elite athletes, to do something that has never been done before in podiatry.”