By Heather Rattray, Marketing Manager, Interface

The recently published Programme for Government outlines a bold and inspiring set of ambitions for Scotland, benefitting the wellbeing of its people through a broad range of initiatives and policies.

The economy features strongly, as a healthy economy equals a healthy nation. More people in work, earning a salary brings benefits to both individuals and communities in so many ways, including promoting good standards of living and adding to the success of our small and dynamic country.

One sentence in the Programme jumped out at me in particular: “We want Scotland to be the most competitive place to do business, delivering a strong, dynamic and productive economy which creates wealth and employment across Scotland.”

It reminded me of a quotation which is on the wall at Tontine, the business accelerator in Glasgow, where Interface’s Glasgow and Clyde Valley Business Engagement Executive, Ruth Oliver, is based.

It quotes entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Farrah Gray, and says: “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

Situated in the Merchant City, Tontine was the first project funded by the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal to open in Glasgow.

Tontine hosts high-quality, flexible workspaces with a focus on those sectors which link with the city's universities to maximise cross-fertilisation between growing companies and major multi-nationals and research programmes situated close by.

Tontine’s vision is to “support the growth and impact of businesses in the creative sectors to encourage collaboration, innovation and high growth.” Spend a bit of time there, and it is evident that the creatives at work are driven, determined and ambitious - all traits that dovetail perfectly with the government’s aims.

The ambitions of individuals are, of course, fundamental to the broader business ambition, a point recognised in the Programme for Government: “Our people are our greatest asset to realising this future and by building on ‘Scotland CAN DO’ we will continue to support successful programmes that unleash the potential of our future entrepreneurs.”

The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards celebrate the most innovative, inspirational and impactful collaborations between business and academics in the country, and this year there are more opportunities to recognise the important part these collaborations play in the wider economy.

Interface, which organises the annual Awards, is calling for applications in seven categories, including a new Spotlight Award for the partnership which has come together from a different business sector and academic discipline to provide an innovative solution to a challenge. The winner will be selected by the judges from all the applications received. 

The other awards are:

Champion of the Year, recognising an individual in academia (university, college, research institute), business or support organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to Knowledge Exchange. 

Innovation of the Year Award, awarded to an innovative product, process or service that has been developed over the past five years.

Making a Difference Award, celebrating collaborative projects which have achieved significant social or environmental impacts that ultimately contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future.

Multiparty Collaboration Award, open to groups of consortia involving three or more parties working together on an innovative research project; the group must include research partners from academia and at least one business. 

Powerful Partnership Award, for a partnership that has demonstrated long-term strategic benefits to both the business and the academic teams.

Rising Star of the Year, open to final year students, Postgraduate Students or KTP Associates who have been hosted or sponsored by a business based in Scotland for a specific project that has increased the skills of the individual as well as increased innovation within the company.

The other exciting change to this year’s Awards is that we are taking the Awards “on the road”, visiting regions around Scotland in the coming months. “Getting the Right People Together” roadshow events will take place in Dundee (31 October), Inverness (1 November), Stirling (8 November) and Glasgow (14 November), and will feature companies which have benefitted from tapping into academic expertise and academics who support industry in meeting their goals through research and development.

Fittingly, the Glasgow roadshow event will be held at Tontine, so if partnering with academics could help with building a successful business, book a place now and come and meet Ruth Oliver and other team members, and hear the stories of impactful collaborations.

As the saying goes, success breeds success, so we hope that networking with business people and academics who have already worked together with positive results could inspire others to follow suit.

A Scottish Knowledge Exchange Award may just be the icing on the cake or a highlight in a business journey, but the rewards of collaborating are many.

To find out more about entering the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards or to register for a roadshow event please go to

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday November 30, 2018.