United in battle against coronavirus

3rd April 2020

We always knew that we worked with dynamic, agile and inventive company and academic teams, however they have blown us away with their ability to adapt and support in the fight against COVID-19.

Businesses the length and breadth of Scotland have shown incredible versatility adapting their production lines or services to make medical equipment, hand sanitiser or educate us online as we work, study and entertain ourselves at home.

And our academic partners have been incredible, bringing their world-class expertise to battle the virus.

We can cite hundreds of examples from our company and academic partners that we have learned about over the past ten days, and here are just a few of their stories:

Family-run Scottish rum producers Matugga Distillers is making a “rummy hand sanitiser” to give to NHS workers, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help reach its goal.

Candle and home fragrance maker Essence of Harris has teamed up with Isle of Harris Distillery to make a speciality batch of hand sanitiser for public-facing workers in the Western Isles.

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) has launched an online portal to help with the supply of hand sanitiser connecting distillers, distributers and organisations at the frontline of health and social care provision.

Staff at Scotmas Group completed a marathon nightshift to deliver chlorine dioxide disinfectants, sanitising tablets, sprays and gels to police, coastguard and council staff across Scotland.

ARMED (which won Innovation of the Year in the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2020) – helping older people in isolation with wearable tech which can predict the risk of people falling.

In parallel, academic partners in Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions are responding to the current global pandemic by offering their resources and expertise to support the national effort and their communities.

Here are just a few examples, courtesy of Universities Scotland:

The University of Glasgow’s Centre for Virus Research (CVR) is at the heart of COVID-19 research in the UK. The Centre has been named as one of 13 key centres in a pan-UK alliance of scientists collaborating on a range of research areas related to the new coronavirus.

A new expert group providing additional scientific analysis of the impact of COVID-19 in Scotland is chaired by the University of Edinburgh’s Professor Andrew Morris. The COVID-19 Advisory Group is providing the Scottish Government with scientific advice to further strengthen modelling informing national and local decisions in Scotland during the pandemic. Professor Morris will be supported by vice chair, Professor David Crossman, Dean of Medicine at the University of St Andrews.

The University of Dundee has donated its two KingFisher Flex robots which are vital to the national diagnostic testing programme. On special request from Number 10 Downing Street, the Royal Navy turned up at Dundee’s School of Life Sciences to transport them to Milton Keynes to be part of the national COVID-19 Diagnostic Centre.

There are many stories from the college sector too such as Perth College UHI staff from departments including Motor Vehicle, Construction, Estates, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy and the Nursery, who gathered all their Personal Protective Equipment (12 bin bags full of thousands of gloves and hundreds of aprons and masks) and donated it to Perth & Kinross Council care workers.

The team at Interface working from home continues to maintain and provide rapid responses to companies and academic delivery partners while prioritising the health and wellbeing of our colleagues.   We are responding to and adapting our services in a flexible and agile way.

We are here to help businesses during this difficult time and to highlight support mechanisms and opportunities available through this period. Practical funding support for businesses can be found on

If you have an idea or challenge and think that academic expertise could help accelerate the development or provide expert opinion, then please contact us.