Case Study

UWI Technology Ltd


Heriot-Watt University


Food & Drink, Agritech and Aquaculture


Edinburgh & Lothians

UWI Technology Ltd was set up in 2009 to develop a patent pending elapsed time indicator (ETI) known as the UWI Label.  Inventor Pete Higgins came up with the idea of a smart label which would indicate how long any jar had been opened for and, therefore, whether or not the food inside had gone off.


The company was looking to establish a collaborative project with an academic group to help advance the technology of the label and develop its commercial potential, ultimately providing a working demonstration of the UWI label for investors.


Through Interface, UWI was introduced to Heriot-Watt University, who had renowned expertise in micro-engineering and colour chemistry.

Besides having the huge potential to be an effective consumer food waste reduction solution, it was soon realised that the idea had significant global applications such as the pharmaceutical industry, medical science and aeronautical manufacturing.  The collaboration received Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher funding, followed by further funding support from the EDTC/Product Realisation Centre Scheme for expanding the work to meet additional commercial demand.


  • Significant progress has been made towards the realisation of the UWI Label.
  • There are four to five potential innovations identified by the UWI patent attorney.
  • UWI was the beneficiary of £50K from Barclays Take One Small Step competition as well as £600K in new investment.
  • It is forecasted that staff and turnover for the company will significantly increase.
  • The idea has significant global applications from food and drink to aeronautical engineering

Company update 2021

  • UWI were the first Scottish company to receive investment from an US based angel syndicate – a syndicate that was specifically set up to invest in UWI where $1m was raised.
  • Winner of WeDO Scotland’s 2013 Most Innovative Business Award.
  • Winner of Scottish Enterprise’s Life Science Award for Innovation.
  • Pete Higgins gives annual talks at Intelligent Packaging conferences in America, Europe and China, being able to share the stage with global brands.
  • In 2019, Pete founded Petaurum Ventures which was initially set up to assist start up companies raise investment by getting them investor ready.  He also works with established companies who are looking for further investment, working with them to put systems and processes in place that will assist them to scale as smoothly as possible. 

Please note that Interface administers the Innovation Voucher Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council. All funding applications are reviewed on a case by case basis by the Scottish Funding Council, guidelines can be found here.