For SMEs, navigating their way around all the organisations and agencies that can offer help and advice – and knowing exactly who does what – can be a somewhat daunting experience. 

Scotland’s business support landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years, and in response to the Government’s Innovation Scotland strategy, created by Scottish Funding Council, Universities Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Interface has added additional services for businesses looking to access academic support.

The Interface support to business includes;

  • bespoke brokerage for one to one projects,
  • establishing collaborative projects where groups of businesses and academics look to solve industry wide challenges,
  • access to cutting edge and cost effective facilities and existing technologies and
  • advice on innovation related funding streams – most notably the Innovation Voucher Scheme which provides business with up to £5,000 for their first academic partnership.

Over the past nine years, Interface has had almost 2,600 enquires from businesses looking for support with projects, which has led to nearly 1,000 collaborations with Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions.  With the development of the Innovation Scotland, and in line with their strategy, Interface will use their existing experience to simplify and enhance businesses’ experiences of working with academia, while also encouraging enhanced innovation and entrepreneurship.

What’s new?

Interface has long been known for matching businesses to the right academic expertise, facilitating projects and partnerships that help solve a business challenge while simultaneously providing access to funding opportunities.

Now, as a key delivery partner for Innovation Scotland, Interface is helping businesses access existing university assets such as technologies that can be easily adopted and commercialised. Information on available technologies can be found on the University Technology website, www.university-technology.com.

The website gives businesses a single location to find the new technologies that Scotland’s HEIs have to offer. Adopting these ‘off the shelf’ technologies can enable a business to reduce its R&D related costs and resources while simultaneously cutting lead time to market. In addition to this, University Technology’s Easy Access portal offers access to a selection of IP at no cost, to enable companies to evaluate it and put it to use quickly, with reduced risk.

Another aspect of university assets are the cutting edge facilities that are available for business use throughout Scotland’s HEIs. From wave basins and wind tunnels to 3D printers and milling machines, Interface are compiling a list of the resources and facilities that can be used by businesses to test and develop their ideas.

From ongoing discussions with the Innovation Scotland partners (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council and Universities Scotland) in conjunction with other business support organisations including Business Gateway, Interface is also developing more user-friendly guidance notes and legal templates, such as intellectual property agreements, which will better support businesses looking to engage with academia.

Interface will also be working in partnership with the new and developing industry led Innovation Centres to support their activity and ensure that even more businesses can take advantage of the opportunities associated with academic partnerships.

For those industries not supported by specific Innovation Centres, Interface will engage with their established industry leadership groups to stimulate demand for mutually beneficial business and academic collaborations.

So whether you’re looking for business support, information on funding options, new technologies to commercialise or use of cutting edge university facilities, all the information is now available to you on this website or you can contact Interface on 0131 651 4791 for a free consultation.