A novel forecasting tool for Engineering resource planning


LauraKreiling-webBy Laura Kreiling, KTP Associate with Alexander Dennis Limited in partnership with University of Strathclyde, and winner of the Building Skills Award in the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards

In my Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, cutting-edge engineering management research from Strathclyde University was transferred to Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), the UK’s biggest bus manufacturer. Continue reading

The Real Food Doctors

By Howell Davies, Interface Food & Drink Business Engagement Executive

If you are expecting a Gillian McKeith-esque article informing you of the fact that ‘you are what you eat’, you probably want to put your I-pad down and get back to your orange zest and pomegranate quinoa.  What I am about to give you instead is a tip of the hat to some of the PhD Scholarships, Interface Food and Drink have helped to fund over the last five years.  What you don’t necessarily see sitting behind the food and drink products we buy off the shelves is a whole raft of intensive research underpinning the sector, some commissioned and supported by industry using Scotland’s world class academic base. Continue reading

Getting Company Connecting off the ground with Interface

Interface client Janice Grant Shaw of Company Connecting, writes a regular blog about getting her business off the ground. Here she highlights how Interface helped in the journey by connecting her to the academic expertise she needed through research.

Janice-webBy Janice Grant Shaw, founder of Company Connecting

Last week I wrote about the help I received attending the Highlands & Island Enterprise Pathfinder Accelerator. It helped me to shape the Company Connecting business by making me spend time on the direction of the business instead of just ‘doing’. The discipline of carrying out our ‘homework’, defining the company strategic was a painful and exhilarating experience. Continue reading

Bright future for publisher after university tie-up

Bright Red Pub










By John MacPherson, Director of Bright Red Publishing

Bright Red Publishing is a multi-award winning independent publishing company which develops and produces high quality Study Guides.  They collaborated with Edinburgh Napier University to create a unique on-line Digital Zone to further support students and teachers during a time of immense educational change in Scotland. Continue reading

Decluttering for a clearer picture


Siobhan JBy Siobhán Jordan, Director, Interface

Over the last few months, I embarked on a major decluttering of my home. What started as a simple “I need to paint the dining room” has in four months escalated to a complete makeover for each room with new paint on every wall and a decluttering of “stuff” that had lain dormant for many years. I can’t say that it was an easy process but now that it is completed the house has taken on a new persona – and easier to navigate! Continue reading

How to build a tourist destination – Innovate!



By Suzanne Dawson, Head of Sector Relationships, Interface

I live in Peebles in the Scottish Borders and am always quick to promote the town and the surrounding area both as a place to live and also to visit.  Since we moved here it has become a centre for tourist activity.  Yes the town’s pretty and it’s lovely to visit on a bank holiday Monday but that’s never going to be enough to sustain local businesses nor does it explain the growth in the sector which we have seen over recent years. Continue reading

Cracking the Innovation Nut

By Helen Pratt, Project Manager, Interface Food & Drink

The main themes of Interface Food & Drink over the course of its life have been innovation, collaboration and impact, and each of those themes played a role in selecting the winning applications for the Legacy Competition, and also when acting as a judge for the Success through Partnership category of the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence awards,

When the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) developed the idea that was to become Interface Food and Drink (IFD), they hoped to get academia more engaged with the industry, and they charged us with developing projects of sufficient scale that they would have economic impact. Neither our project winners, nor those of the SFD Excellence awards have been announced yet, so I won’t be giving the game away here, but suffice to say I am delighted with both the entries and the outcomes. There are entries representing genuine collaborations along the supply chain and not only interdisciplinary but inter-institutional partnerships.

Many of the entries, whether for the Legacy competition, the Excellence awards or indeed, simply the final round of IFD funding with Feasibility and Proof of Principle awards, have the potential to make a real impact, particularly environmentally as the drive to reduce waste or to turn it into something of value continues. While universities have collaborated with the industry for a long time to develop new products, we’ve seen the introduction of new processes which increase efficiencies, reduce costs and contribute to sustainability – all hugely important to the continued success of the industry in Scotland.

Innovation is always the toughest nut to crack – we bandy the word around a lot, and yet so often we hear from companies that they really don’t know what it means or that it’s up to someone else “to do”. Over the course of the last five years, we have seen companies innovate in all manner of ways. Sometimes it’s been about the way they have worked with competitors or supply chain partners, sometimes it’s been the introduction of new technologies or the application of older technologies in new ways. Sometimes it’s been high tech, more often than not, it’s low tech, but it’s always been interesting and it’s always demonstrated just how dynamic this industry is.

The IFD team are in the process of carrying out an impact survey and we’ll have a much better idea of the overall achievement when we’ve done that. In the meantime, with the benefit of hindsight there are, of course, things we would have done differently, but looking back at nearly 100 projects funded by SFC with more than £1.2m, I’m very proud of what’s been achieved.

What’s so special about Specialist Facilities?

Laser cutting of metal sheet with sparks

By Heather Alexander, Marketing Manager, Interface

We officially launched our Specialist Facilities platform and accompanying promotional video last week – I hope you’ve managed to take a look!
So, what’s so special about Specialist Facilities?

Scotland has a huge resource of world class and highly specialised facilities throughout each one of its universities and research institutions – this in its self is pretty special but when you combine it with the academic and technical knowledge they become a very valuable solution for commercial business projects.

We have some great examples of companies that have used Specialist Facilities as part of their R&D activities:

Scotlab used computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing at the University of Strathclyde to create their Altium-i10, a portable device that would simulate the effects of high altitudes to be used by athletes to improve performance. They later also worked with the University of the West of Scotland to evaluate the performance capability and functionality of the device through field tests.
The natural dog treat company PAWsitively Natural conducted nutritional and shelf life analysis of their four flavours of dog treats with Glasgow Caledonian University which helped in the process of bringing the products to market.

And Kanthal, a manufacturer of silicon carbide heating element rods worked with Edinburgh Napier University to test the bending strength of their carbon rods to understand their robustness and versatility within the manufacturing process.

As you can see from these case studies there is a varied range of facilities and expertise that companies can access and it has been a real eye opener for me to identify the vast range of facilities that are available – so much in fact that we simply couldn’t include everything on our website and in the video. The video has been a great way to bring to life some of these facilities, showing how they can be used and taking the viewer into the environment.

So, if you’re looking for a piece of equipment or facility that you don’t see in our video or on our website don’t worry, from our partner base of Scotland’s 23 universities and research institutions we will be able to locate it and match you into the right expertise for your project.

Contact us to find your Specialist Facilities match.