Facilitating partnerships between academics and businesses is the core mission of the Interface team.
Having facilitated many effective collaborations over the past few years, ensuring that the right ingredients are in place from the outset is one of the key principles of success when great minds meet. Just like there can be many and varied ingredients to create a Great British Bake Off masterpiece, at the core of a powerful partnership are a few essentials; willingness to collaborate, expert knowledge and an appreciation of financial incentives and benefits to each partner.
The financial incentives to help offset the cost of the collaborative project between the company and academic are many and varied – but essentially fall into two categories – those exclusively supporting academic-business collaborations such as the Innovation voucher programme or Knowledge transfer partnerships or those that can be accessed by business or organisations where the academic team can be a sub-contractual but valued partner.
Over the last few months, we have seen a much wider variety and use of imaginative ways by academic teams to access many different forms of funding through their links with companies. Successes include Zero waste Scotland Circular Economy Investment fund, SMART: Scotland grants, Innovation competition funding from UKRI and a host of funds supporting social innovation. The long-term vision has been carefully crafted from the outset – with the company and academic team focused on the longer-term partnership rather than a one-off short-term opportunity.
There is no doubting that financial incentives are an important factor in creating powerful partnerships, but there are many options and opportunities – it just takes some creativity, imagination and a sprinkle of the right ingredients to create the academic / business collaborative masterpiece.