The Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher scheme, which is managed by Interface, has been running successfully since 2008 and to date has funded more than 1,800 businesses to collaborate with Scottish universities or colleges on innovative projects.
The latest evolution of the programme is a move towards digitalisation of this service. An online presence for the scheme will streamline the processes from application, through approval to final reports and claims. Online access will give each institution more control over the processes involved and allow them to monitor their projects in one centralised area, very quickly able to see the status of each one and any actions needing attention.
A new portal has been created and access offered to each of the academic institutions. The individual applications require the input from the business, the academic as well as commercialisation staff and the portal allows for invites to be sent to each party to allow them appropriate access to the form.
Seamless integration with Interface systems allows for a very streamlined decision process and provides a full and transparent trail for audit.
The Interface partner portal was created with the intention of improving the Innovation Voucher application process, to make it quicker and easier for all applicants (university – institution contacts and companies) to apply online for an Innovation Voucher and to track the progress from approval of the project, through to completion where you can also submit final reports and see when payment has been made. The portal provides a step-by-step guide for completing an application, providing hints and tips along the way and allowing for multiple contributors from the University, the business and Interface.
The digitalisation of the process has many benefits, bespoke links can be created and shared with other contributors and the application can be accessed at any time, it also sends notifications when further information is required. One of the biggest benefits of the portal is a quicker turnaround on decisions, rather than the current 3-week timeline.
Interface have been piloting the portal with a number of universities since the start of the academic year 2022/23 and we have gained really helpful feedback. We have now invited all university points of contact to register for the portal and would fully encourage everyone to access it and familiarise themselves in advance of August 2023, from this date we will only be able to accept applications online.