A recent NESTA report highlighted the five themes for smaller countries that support and foster business innovation;

- 1.  The importance of downstream innovation, not just basic research

- 2.  Openness to the world, its ideas and opportunities

- 3.  A government whose wider policies support innovation and technology

- 4.  Strong but flexible institutions

- 5.  A sense of national mission

Over the past few years, the activities undertaken by the Interface team to support businesses and Scottish academics to collaborate have evolved considerably and chime with the key themes from the NESTA report.  Our core mission since inception remains “to enable business-academic collaborations for economic and societal benefit”.    

Through our local business engagement staff, Interface supports companies of all sizes and sectors throughout Scotland, the UK and internationally, encouraging them to collaborate with Scotland’s academic knowledge and expertise.  We also enable groups of businesses from key industry sectors to work together to provide critical mass and greater impact as a result of academic collaboration; the Interface Food & Drink’s Common Interest Groups are an excellent example of this.

Through our promotion of university assets, both technologies and facilities, we are actively encouraging downstream innovation; enabling businesses to commercialise technologies, intellectual property and assets and ultimately become more innovative.

Underpinning the Interface service is a continued programme to catalyse and connect with more businesses; the administration of the Scottish Funding Council’s Innovation Voucher scheme; and the development of mutually beneficial relationships with each of Scotland’s eight Innovation Centres.

The support that Interface offers, the connections that we can make and the opportunities that come from academic collaborations have been demonstrated time and time again resulting in significant economic and societal impacts.

Over the past nine years, and having facilitated almost 1,000 collaborative projects, we have helped businesses to create and improve products, streamline services and develop processes which have enabled them to increase their profits, create and safeguard jobs, maximise their export potential and ultimately become more sustainable.

Our core mantra is “get it right for business” and so we are excited about the new developments that are emerging in Scotland; developments that will improve and simplify the experience of businesses who work with Scotland’s universities to develop and exploit innovative ideas. Together with our partners; Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Universities Scotland; Interface supports practical ways to facilitate more connections between businesses and academia.  It is a win win for all, so if you have an idea you want to explore, a product you would like to develop or just need some expert and impartial advice, contact us, and see how we can get it right for you.