SKEA 2020 winners

On the 27 February, 2020, over 150 people came together from across Scotland to celebrate the local and global impacts achieved for society and the economy through R&D partnership and knowledge sharing between businesses, colleges, universities and research institutes. 

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said:

“I always really enjoy the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards which are now in their fifth year. Not only do we celebrate the achievements of the businesses we’ve helped match with academic expertise, this unique ceremony showcases the immense talent and expertise in colleges and universities working with industry, which enable sustainable and inclusive economic growth and job creation.”
“The pioneering individuals and R&D partnerships recognised at the Awards have brought huge benefits and impacts which ripple locally, regionally and globally to truly drive industry-led innovation.” 

Ivan McKee, MSP, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, presented the awards. He said:

"I’d like to congratulate all the nominees and winners who have been recognised for their outstanding work at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards."
“Not only do these awards celebrate activities and projects happening all over Scotland, they bring people together and create new collaborations and partnerships. Their innovation plays a crucial role in boosting productivity and creating sustainable economic growth for the country.”

The winners were chosen by a specially selected panel of judges who were looking for academic-business collaborative projects that demonstrated innovation and transformation, as well as individuals who go above and beyond in their contribution to knowledge exchange. 

The winners are: 

Innovation of the Year

Winner: HAS Technology Ltd, Greenock, collaborated with Edinburgh Napier University, to develop wearable technology to predict the risk of people falling. ARMED (Advanced Risk Modelling for Early Detection) combines pioneering predictive analytics modelling and innovative wearable technology with health and social care data, identifying risks earlier in the care cycle, reducing the number of falls and associated hospital admissions leading to significant financial savings.  

With a proven success rate ARMED has quickly expanded, creating new jobs and demonstrating how artificial intelligence can revolutionise preventative care. 

Highly Commended: ThermaFY Ltd, Kelso, collaborated with Fife College to test and improve its thermal imaging software which, when combined with a new online, mobile-first training package, can now be used by heating engineers, surveyors and others. The product uses thermal images to assess properties without the need for invasive methods, helping to inform decisions on allocation of resources, saving money for customers and reducing carbon emissions.  

Making a Difference
Winner: Baltic Street Adventure Playground (BSAP), a Glasgow charity and child-led supervised adventure playground, is partnering with the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School to develop a community food hub in Dalmarnock, a neighbourhood that ranks in the top 5% highest rate of deprivation in Scotland. The collaboration, which is supported by Stage 2 Scottish Government/EU Social Innovation Funding, demonstrated both social and environmental impacts in an area of high deprivation with ‘grow local’ and sustainable themes.

Knowledge Exchange Champion of the Year

This was an incredible year for pioneering knowledge exchange individuals with joint winners, Professor Marian Wiercigroch and Professor David Flynn being named Knowledge Exchange Champion of the Year. Professor Naeem Ramzan was also highly commended for his work.

Winner: Professor Marian Wiercigroch, School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen, is an internationally renowned researcher, conference organiser, engineer and inventor of new technology. He has demonstrated exceptional engagement with industry and delivery of knowledge exchange to energy companies, including establishing Aberdeen’s Centre for Applied Dynamics Research, which has organised over 100 research seminars delivered by leading national and international researchers. 

Winner: Professor David Flynn, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, has brought global advocacy for Scotland’s universities, highlighting how they serve society and industry in partnership, not only to bring solutions to today’s challenges but strategies to engineer a better future. He passionately supports new technology as an enabler for social mobility and wealth creation.

Highly Commended: Professor Naeem Ramzan, School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of the West of Scotland is an international scientist, engineer, and innovator in Artificial Intelligence and Multimedia Processing. He actively supports knowledge exchange projects from grassroots level through to providing strategic insight to industry thought-leaders such as leading the call for culture change within the construction industry. 

Innovator of the Future 

Winner: Connor Blair from the University of Glasgow is undertaking an Industrial Placement PhD with Portage Glasgow Ltd, a biotechnology start-up company, focusing on the discovery and development of novel cell-penetrating peptide therapeutics. Connor’s research has already led to two patents and he has been promoted to the role of Principal Scientist. 

Multiparty Collaboration

Winner: The nEUROSTRESSPEP project, led by the University of Glasgow, has championed a revolution in the creation of novel next-generation green insecticides.

The €7M multiparty collaboration brings together seven universities across Europe and South Africa, six agricultural technology governmental agencies and three highly innovative companies. The multiparty collaboration will bring eco-friendly alternative pest control a step closer to reality, leading to the creation of a new Scottish, specialist environmentally friendly insecticides company - the first of its kind in the UK.  

Highly Commended: The £6m MIRAGE consortium, led by Stirling based Cascade Technologies with partners Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global (CSTG), Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd (GSS), Amethyst Research Ltd and the University of Glasgow was supported by Scottish Enterprise and CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensors and Imaging Systems. 

Combining the expertise of the partners and sharing access to III-V semiconductor growth capabilities, manufacturing facilities and knowledge, the project has enhanced Scotland’s electro-optical capabilities and has allowed the companies to develop technologies faster than would have been possible individually.  

Spotlight Award

The Spotlight Award was presented to Enable Scotland, University of Strathclyde Business School, Scottish Power and Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, for Breaking Barriers, a pioneering programme enabling young people with learning disabilities to attend university, achieve an accredited qualification and gain real work experience with two of Scotland’s largest employers. 

This Award celebrates a partnership between a different business sector/academic discipline to provide an innovative solution to a challenge and is chosen from across all the applications received. 

The annual awards are organised by Interface, which matches business to Scotland’s world-leading academics to develop and research new products, services and processes.

The award partners are Marks & Clerk, SCI Scotland and Scottish Business Insider

Applications were sought from all Scottish universities, research institutes and colleges, as well as businesses and organisations, demonstrating research and development and innovation-led partnerships which have had a positive impact on the economy, society or the environment.