Birthday badge with 15 in the middle, confetti and text saying hapy birthday Interface

A unique matching service for businesses and academics is celebrating its 15th anniversary with news of a record number of partnerships and research and development projects.

Since it was established in 2005 to bridge the gap between the worlds of business and academia, Interface has brought together over 3,271 company and academic partners, resulting in 2,375 research and development projects. In the last year alone (up to July 2020) 329 research and development projects have been successfully brokered following introductions by Interface - the highest figure in any single year since the service was launched. 

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, said:

“Scotland’s world-class research plays a key role in addressing economic, societal and environmental challenges, both nationally and globally. Unlocking the further potential in Scotland’s colleges and universities to support inclusive, sustainable economic growth, delivering highly skilled people to the labour market and supporting industry-led challenges is key to accelerating business confidence and ambition. This is especially important now, in these challenging times. 

“The team at Interface continues to play a significant role in establishing long-lasting collaborations between businesses and academia delivering a range of social, environmental and economic impacts.

“What it has achieved in its first 15 years is impressive, and has enabled many productive partnerships helping Scottish companies and organisations to flourish and scale up, and I look forward to seeing many more achievements from them in future.”

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Interface’s founding director, established the service with a “blank sheet” after recognising the potential for greater collaborations between businesses and universities.

“In many ways we are the translators between the worlds of business and academia, and open doors for them to learn from one another. People make connections and key to many of the partnerships we have established is the two-way exchange of knowledge across businesses, academic teams, researchers and students. 

“Many industry led challenges have been solved over the past 15 years through partnerships we have brokered and it is humbling to see how the outcomes have truly made a difference to day-to-day life socially and economically. The impacts from the connections we have enabled are far reaching and brought interest and recognition from around the world.  Crucially this has enabled Scottish companies to grow and scale; access new markets, expand workforces and increase turnover, whilst often bringing positive impacts on communities and individuals.

“Through the years we have supported a wide range of collaborative projects as demonstrated by the many hundreds of case studies – from application of cutting-edge blockchain research by service companies to reducing costs through energy and carbon management; our impartial service accesses all academic disciplines.”  

The 15th anniversary, in August 2020, will be marked with the launch of a special three-month campaign featuring the 15 Faces of Interface – people who represent different aspects of Interface, from innovators of the future to long standing partnerships fostered over the last decade.  

A 16th face of the future will prompt an open conversation on the role of knowledge exchange in the next 15 years and beyond; how productive partnerships #MatchedByInterface can support Scotland’s future, from boosting the economy and ensuring social inclusion, to being part of the country’s environmental, health and wellbeing goals.

The campaign will run through social media channels and on Interface’s website - click here to see our 15 faces of Interface.