£60,000 awarded to business-academic inward investment

27th January 2022

The Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst fund has awarded £60,000 to strengthen ties between overseas businesses and universities in Scotland.

The fund, launched by Interface and Scottish Government in December, supports Scotland’s ambition to be a leading destination for inward investment aligned with our values as a nation, as outlined in Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan: Shaping Scotland’s Economy.

Six companies, headquartered in Europe, the U.S. and South Africa, will collaborate with a range of Scottish universities with a view to establishing operations in Scotland. All of the collaborative projects will support a net zero, health and wellbeing economy with the principles of fair work and sustainable, inclusive growth. 

The successful projects include:

OXLABS Ltd is developing habitaHub, a home wellbeing monitoring service to support greater independence for those with assisted living needs. Heriot-Watt University is collaborating with the start-up using know-how, tools and facilities in the National Robotarium’s Open Ambient Assisted Living (OpenAAL). The research will help OXLABS to refine its prototype and conduct initial development of machine intelligence algorithms that can be used to track health progression and deterioration in OXLABS’ customers, acting as a springboard to the launch of its operations in Scotland.

U.S. green energy disruptor, Evolve Hydrogen Inc, are developing a novel bespoke polymer material that enables direct electrolysis of seawater without the need for desalination. This project will make use of the electrochemical engineering expertise at University of Strathclyde to characterise the material. Evolve™ green hydrogen technology will be a game changer for energy transition and the decarbonization of transport. Successful development will lead to the establishment of a Scottish manufacturing base to serve European markets.

South African company Nutri-GoSA Pty, a spin-out from Tshwane University of Technology, develop and distribute a sustainable, highly nutritious gluten free and dairy free sorghum based probiotic drink, Niselo®. Collaborating with Abertay University, this project will use the university’s technology, consumer tasting panel evaluations and review food safety and regulations allowing the company to invest in the production of their product within Scotland and to expand into UK and European markets. 

In welcoming the announcement of the award winners, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee, said: “Our ambition is for Scotland to be a leading destination for inward investment that aligns with our core values as a nation. Science in Scotland is cutting edge and truly excellent in global terms, our higher education institutions and academic strengths play an important role in attracting inwards investment.

“The projects chosen for Inward Investment Catalyst Fund support align with the opportunity areas identified in our Inward Investment Plan where Scotland’s strengths meet global demand, and will play a role in helping deliver a fair, sustainable, inclusive and low carbon economy.”

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said: “These projects represent exciting new collaborations between world leading researchers in Scottish universities and a range of international companies.  Accessing the technology and talent of universities combined with support networks including Scottish Development International and Skills Development Scotland will lead to new jobs and company growth in Scotland.”