The DHI Rural Centre of Excellence project in Moray is supporting the delivery of additional educational opportunities, courses, and skills provision – both for people interested in a career in digital health and care and for current and future frontline health and care staff in need of understanding digital ways of working. We also want to raise awareness about the types of jobs, career opportunities, and skills requirements associated with digital health and care.
Digital technology is transforming the health and care sector. This will affect the way health and social care is delivered in Moray and will have an impact on the skills and capabilities required by the workforce.
The event is free to attend, and you can expect to:
- Learn more about digital health and care developments in Moray – and broader Scotland-wide challenges and opportunities.
- Hear from local and national employers about the digital skills and competencies that health and care employers need.
- Learn how digital technology can support people with their health and wellbeing needs.
- Discover more about DHI’s current projects, and the skills-related research we have been carrying out over the last few years.
- Hear an update on new online courses supporting the adult social care workforce in Moray.
- Share best practices and understand how digital health & care stakeholders can learn from one another, work together and partner with local and national agencies.
Simon Bokor-Ingram, Chief Officer, Health and Social Care Moray
Janette Hughes, Director of Planning and Performance, Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI)
Sanna Rimpiläinen, Head of Research and Skills, Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI)
Rosemary McCormack, Head of Curriculum, UHI Moray
Dylan White, Principal Lead, NHS Youth Academy
Ruth Cochrane, Lead Academic, Glasgow School of Art Innovation School
Andrew Ord, Account Executive, Microsoft
There will also be representatives from NHS Grampian, Scottish Care, the Cognitive Assistive Robotic Environments (CARE) Group at Heriot-Watt University, Scottish AI Alliance, Skills Development Scotland, Education Scotland, and the Scottish Ambulance Service.
The Get Set Yeti app is in development, themed around a clan of yeti characters, that allows younger children to understand their emotions, through discovering ‘emotion beasties’, enabling difficult concepts to be put across in an age accessible and engaging way.
Get Set Yeti is a Digital Education business, that specialises in using storytelling and character-based learning to make Growth Mindset accessible to younger children at school and at home. They aim to level the ‘educational playing field’ by helping children from all walks of life develop the skills to become confident, resilient learners. They also provide materials for parents to build their confidence and capacity to do the things at home that have an impact on creating solid school foundations in Early Literacy and Early Numeracy.
Get Set Yeti supports educators and parents to help children develop learning resilience and confidence through building a growth mindset, and through emotional literacy. They offer a range of programmes and resources themed around a clan of yeti characters.
The company came into existence through recognition of a need in the field and has been developed by its founder Carol Arnott. An experienced practitioner both in Primary and Community Education, Carol employed Growth Mindset techniques initially to develop a rhyming story to help local families struggling with learning confidence. The story of “The Yeti’s Roar” was born, developed into a book which grew into a learning programme that was successfully trialled in several local schools and nurseries in the Dundee area.
Developing the programme became a passion of Carol’s and with the help of Business Gateway and the Elevator Business Accelerator, where Carol was introduced to Interface, her business began and demand quickly developed to the stage of looking to grow the team and expand into other cities – then Covid hit. Unable to get into schools due to closures and distancing regulations and with other contracts put on hold it became apparent that digital learning was the way forward. A new site was built and ‘Get Set Yeti’ evolved and grew.
Get Set Yeti was created to provide Growth Mindset resources for children under 8 due to the lack of material available. In the educational climate, there was a growing need for children to learn to be more resilient in learning and it was widely recognised that learning to develop a ‘Growth Mindset’ could successfully meet this need.
Get Set Yeti was interested in developing an app or platform that could help young children understand and process emotions using Growth Mindset to help maintain positive mental health.
Through the Accelerator in Dundee, Carol met Lorna Watson of Interface who identified University of Dundee’s Dr Michael Crabb (School of Science and Engineering) and Dr Alexia Barrable (School of Education and Social Work) who had the required academic expertise to develop an app that could help younger children develop emotional literacy and self-regulation. This initial project was taken forward with a £5000 Standard Innovation Voucher.
The team at the University of Dundee helped initialise ‘The Yeti Field Guide to Feelings’ app to help children develop emotional literacy, supported by parents and educators.
Based on the premise that deep in the forest on top of Yeti Mountain the yetis sometimes come across ‘Emotion Beasties’ that have escaped from children in the villages below. Once caught, the yetis learn how to look after them using their special book ‘The Yeti Field Guide to Feelings’. They learn that caring for feelings takes practise and learn techniques to manage them through online interaction and additional printable activities and resources.
The app will incorporate:
- Simple gameplay to capture the engagement of the user.
- Diagnostic tool Information on emotions.
- A range of resources and tools to reinforce and support, designed by appropriate mental health experts.
This innovation sits right at the heart of Get Set Yeti’s core strategy as it uses process design to help children and families understand difficult concepts and gives them the tools to develop skills to learn successfully using Growth Mindset techniques.
- Get Set Yeti created a collaborative co-design programme for children and are in the process of securing funding to create the app with all the necessary building blocks in place.
- Get Set Yeti have developed an ongoing partnership with the University of Dundee and are able to provide opportunities for current students and graduates.
- Further opportunities to connect to the School of Education, CLD and Social Work during the testing phase of the app, along with the Department of Science and Engineering.
The Next Steps
Get Set Yeti have transitioned through the restrictions brought about by Covid19, transforming from a localised, face-to-face delivery company to an online-learning portal with international potential.
Following on from this initial project the relationship between Interface and Get Set Yeti has continued to grow and there have been several more successful student projects/placements for a range of things from marketing to behavioural analysis as follows:
Due the restrictions brought about through Covid19 Get Set Yeti pivoted to produce a digital version of their material and with the help of Abertay University the company developed a digital marketing strategy to promote their digital offering and transform from a localised business to offer their products nationally and develop a marketing campaign to appeal to local authorities, head teachers, infant teachers and parents.
A successful student placement project with the University of West of Scotland helped Get Set Yeti achieve a targeted marketing campaign appealing to potential clients and partners; utilising social media and other appropriate available channels.
The University of Stirling undertook some behavioural analysis to help Get Set Yeti understand and develop customer personas to allow them to enter new markets and target their future campaigns for maximum impact.
University of Highlands and Islands students are currently working directly with the Musical Director and CEO to help devise a digital marketing and social media campaign to promote an album of original ‘Yeti Songs’ to enhance the delivery of Growth Mindset learning to younger children and their families.
This event will bring together a number of different funding bodies to discuss how they can support innovators, and is aimed at sole traders, micro-organisations, small and medium-sized businesses, academia and wider industry. The event is hosted by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) at their SAMS campus in Dunbeg, Oban.
The funding bodies’ presentations will include:
- The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is a cross-Government organisation that finds and funds exploitable defence and security innovations to make the UK safer. It welcomes ideas from innovators small and large, while providing support to those who have not previously worked with Government. DASA. Representatives from DASA will be at the event to discuss the funding opportunities and business support functions available.
- CENSIS is Scotland’s Innovation Centre for sensing, imaging and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. We work with private and public organisations of all sizes to de-risk and accelerate innovation and overcome technology barriers to achieve business transformation.
- ESA Space Solutions is the go-to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and the economy. Its mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of businesses using satellite applications and space technology.
- Interface offers a free and impartial service to connect your organisation with the best academic minds in Scotland to create and improve products, streamline services and develop processes to drive business growth, increase profits and helped to reach new markets. Interface has close connections with a range of support organisations across Scotland and can also advise on funding options.
- The Data Lab is Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI. Through hubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, we foster innovation through collaboration, build skills and grow talent, and champion Scotland’s data science community. Our purpose is to change lives and make Scotland a more productive economy and a sustainable society by transforming the way we use data.
- 10:30 -11:00 – Arrival tea and coffees
- 11:00-11:15 – Welcome by Professor Nick Owens, Director of SAMS and Professor Neil Simco, Deputy Principal, Academic and Research at UHI
- 11:15-12:00 – Presentations from DASA, UHI, CENSIS, ESA Space Solutions, Interface and The DATALAB
- 12:00-12:30 – Panel Q&A Session
- 12:30-14:00 – Networking Lunch and Exhibition
- 14:00 – Event Close
Connect – Collaborate – Communicate
This conference spread over two days will be a hybrid face to face / VC conference, hosted from UHI Moray in the Alexander Graham Bell Centre for Digital Health and is an opportunity for research staff and students to showcase a selection of the varied research happening across the university.
Expect a fully interactive conference with live and pre-recorded elements.
Sustainable Thinking Scotland (STS) Community Interest Company is a social enterprise, based in Bo’ness, created to address a wide range of social and environmental issues. They operate a variety of projects that focus on topics such as food growing, community wellbeing and wood and green waste recycling.
STS currently produce biochar from wood waste. Biochar is a highly porous form of carbon obtained from baking wood within an oxygen-depleted environment and has the potential to draw and lock in nutrients and toxins from its environment. Until recently, the biochar STS produced was used in an agricultural setting, utilising its production as a means of carbon abatement and as a soil amendment within their food growing projects. STS wanted to research and create a biochar optimised for excess nutrient removal from water, helping to tackle harmful algae blooms and the nutrient pollution which causes them.
The water remediation techniques STS proposed involving biochar had not been adequately researched, regulated or utilised within the EU, UK and Scottish markets. STS wanted to engage with academic expertise to advance their production of biochar whilst also ensuring effective regulatory standards were put in place governing its manufacturing and subsequent use.
The company was referred to Interface through their engagement in Firstport’s LaunchMe accelerator, which is aimed at supporting Scotland’s highest potential social enterprises. After Interface put out a call to the relevant universities in Scotland, STS decided to work collaboratively with both the University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI) and the University of Strathclyde to test biochar production from wood waste and investigate its potential use in nutrient removal.
A Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher was used to fund the project with UHI, whilst an initial consultancy project with the University of Strathclyde looked at in depth testing of Biochar including thermochemical changes.
The results from this research should help inform SEPA’s (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) decision making on how to license and regulate biochar’s use in water.
The new/enhanced product to be developed is a biochar which has qualities which allow it to draw in and bind to excess nutrients within water; adsorbing and removing them, resulting in improved water quality. This will provide a new solution to the growing problem of blue-green algae blooms in freshwater and also act to recover phosphorus and nitrogen from water. The biochar will act to stop nutrient pollution at source, preventing algal blooms and eutrophication, whilst creating a recoverable nutrient loaded carbon biochar that can be re-used on land. This would not only act to maintain/provide carbon within soil but would also provide a slow release (nitrogen/phosphorous rich) fertiliser. UHI’s ERI (Environmental Research Institute) already has significant current interests in this area, not least as partners in a €10M+ EU NW Europe Project (Phos4You) which demonstrates phosphate recovery and re-use innovations within Europe.
Benefits to company:
- The Innovation Voucher leveraged additional funding, including Scottish Enterprise’s Unlocking Ambition programme, and Firstport’s Catalyst Fund that will be used to support follow-on R&D work with the two universities.
- New research data will be collected in collaboration with ERI-NHC (Environmental Research Institute – North Highland College UHI) which will be of long-term benefit to STS.
- The results of the research will/can feed into several STS projects.
- The project assists expansion into new water remediation markets, which offers new income streams which can be used to fund STS social support programmes.
- This initial project will open the door to further collaboration and research.
- A studentship through IBioIC has enabled STS to work with a PhD student over 4 years from the Chemical and Process Engineering Department at Strathclyde University to investigate each step of biochar production to make it more efficient for larger scale use.
- Project results will provide evidence to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency regarding the efficacy of the product and techniques, which will assist with regulation and encourage further research funding.
- STS successfully secured £190K investment from Firstport and Social Enterprise Scotland’s Catalyst Fund to enable them to bring their technology to market.
Benefits to academic partners
- As much of ERI’s work in the Water Quality Innovation space focusses on low cost/sustainable solutions to water quality management and treatment, their aims with STS are very much aligned and they see significant scope to collaborate further.
- Biochar related research is of great interest to ERI and they are keen to work with STS to provide quantitative data to support the efficacy/advancement of their product. They are equally keen to see any work generated published in peer reviewed international research journals and will help STS achieve this.
- Results generated can feed into other existing projects, many of which also focus on nutrient removal/recycling and biochar production/functionalisation.
Benefits to Scottish Government
Despite the rise in recurring algal blooms in water bodies across the UK, biochar field-based water remediation remains absent from the £1.3 billion UK water treatment market. Biochar technology development will help create a range of safe, low cost, low impact environmental remediation services which are more financially accessible, encouraging landowners and custodians to invest in their greenspaces, offering a comprehensive/easily accessible solution to long term problems; leading to climate action and contributing to Scotland’s net zero targets.
STS have continued to make strides in developing their “Biochar” product and to understand the markets in which they can operate to position themselves as a sustainable social enterprise.
This initial project has opened the door to further collaboration and research and Interface have assisted STS to embark on other successful collaborations most notably with Adam Smith Business School at University of Glasgow where they have engaged with a range of student programmes from undergraduate to MBA. Projects include:
- a study into how STS could access the customers for the biochar/water quality services they are developing, typically Local Authorities and Large Estates owned by private individuals and companies and how best to engage with these diverse end customers and get past the trust barrier.
- identifying a route to market for the Biochar product; this included branding, operations, logistics and pricing.An MBA student team provided all of this and more. The final presentation and report provided STS with a clear route to market strategy, distinctive branding, pricing and costs as well as a functioning Shopify online store.
Other projects relating to environmental and sustainability issues are under discussion and Sean Kerr STS Director generously gives time to undergraduate and MSc programmes, student placements, and makes himself available for speaking and networking opportunities. The relationship continues to deepen and in 2022 Dr Nick Quinn, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship in the Business School, joined STS as a Non Executive Director.
Sustainable Thinking Scotland’s determination and hard work is paying off as they won Innovation of the Year Award at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2023.
CogniHealth is an Edinburgh-based health-tech company that creates digital solutions for long-term conditions. With a current focus on dementia, their aim is to improve the quality of lives of families affected by dementia.
Their flagship solution, CogniCare, is a digital companion for dementia carers. The CogniCare app empowers carers with an array of resources and activities that cover all aspects of dementia care in one place. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to drive personalised dementia care support with the aim to reduce the affected family’s financial, physical and psychological burden.
This healthcare app also allows carers to monitor and track disease progression and gain comprehensive insights through the reports generated; enabling them to communicate better and more accurately with healthcare professionals.
Pooja Jain, a neuroscientist and co-founder of CogniHealth, was referred by Business Gateway to Louise Arnold at Interface. CogniHealth was seeking to strengthen the monitor-and-track functionality and add interactive features to the CogniCare app.
While the resources available through CogniCare were successful in informing carers about dementia, delivering care and self-care, the way in which carers could document dementia symptoms through the app was tedious at times and not aligned to medical standards. This made it difficult to provide personalised care.
Louise and CogniHealth agreed that working with academic experts who understand how dementia is detected, and how it is monitored in its progression, would help CogniHealth develop a better understanding of the parameters healthcare professionals would find informative. This would ensure they capture the right type of information, confirm its accuracy, and help deliver an effective personalised care treatment plan. After a project outline was scoped up and issued to various universities in Scotland, Louise was able to identify relevant expertise at the University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI). UHI have unique expertise in the care of older adults and the dementia care sector with a deep understanding of the various aspects of care provision for people affected by dementia.
CogniHealth and UHI worked together to capture relevant clinical, cognitive, functional and behavioural parameters within CogniCare that could provide key information to both family carers and healthcare professionals. Family carers would be able to track the most relevant symptoms over time in an accurate and interactive manner.
The project was funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher.
Both parties have benefitted from the exchange of knowledge as well as the co-production of an enhanced product that will have a tangible impact on dementia care.
Company – One of the significant outputs from this project was the development of a framework for practical day-to-day assessments and monitoring on symptom escalation by family carers of people living with dementia at home. This feature of the app could enhance carers’ competence and confidence in early identification of relevant symptoms; enabling professionals to provide early intervention to prevent unnecessary hospitalisation. There are currently no tools that enable this kind of interaction with all those involved within the dementia care triad (the PwD, the carer and the professional).
CogniHealth aims to build partnerships with organisations across the UK, and this project provided a unique opportunity to develop such a partnership with the University of Highlands and Islands.
University – The project added value to two Dementia PhD students with learning opportunities around academic – industry partnership working and project management skills. Outputs from this project included a virtual conference presentation at the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in December 2020 and the following publication in the Journal of Working with Older people:
Macaden, L., Muirhead, K., Melchiorre, G., Mantle, R., Ditta, G. and Giangreco, A., 2020. Relationship-centred CogniCare: an academic–digital–dementia care experts’ interface. Working with Older People.
Scottish Economy – The societal and economic costs of dementia are detrimental to society. The Scottish economy is not only impacted by the health and social care costs of dementia, but also the loss of a valuable workforce who may become full or part-time carers for a family member with dementia. Enabling the delivery of improved care, prevention and early intervention can reduce costs, while also keeping potential carers in the workforce for longer.
In April 2020, Louise connected CogniHealth to the University of Edinburgh Advanced Care Research Centre. The project was funded via the Data-Driven Innovation Programme* to apply data-driven-innovation ideas in support of communities, services and businesses, in response to the COVID pandemic. An award of £15k was made to the University of Edinburgh Medical School to build a ‘soothing’ feature within the CogniCare app. The new feature enables users to access and view soothing images. These images will be sourced from an existing database of 800 images that have been collected from the public and have previously been shown to help improve people’s mood and help fight mental health issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 lock down. Users will be able to personalise the images based on their preferences (e.g. themes, colours) and tell CogniCare how they feel and the impact the imagery has had to their mental health.
* The Data-Driven Innovation initiative aims to help organisations and all our citizens benefit from the data revolution. Working together to deliver the 15-year programme are the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, whose researchers will collaborate with industry on data partnerships in the public, private and third sectors. This is part of the Edinburgh & South-East Scotland City Regional Deal.
The Scottish Crannog Centre, located on Loch Tay in Perthshire, includes a museum, the reconstructed crannog (typically a partially or entirely artificial island, usually built in lakes and estuarine waters of Scotland) and living history area with interactive demonstrations of ancient crafts and technologies from the Early Iron Age.
As a community, they care for and make accessible the finds of Scottish crannog excavations and interpret the lives of crannog dwellers for the benefit, enjoyment, education and inspiration of all.
All work is funded from visitors supporting their work through paid admissions, grants and donations or undertaken on a voluntary basis.
The Scottish Crannog Centre is shifting from a successful, though tired, visitor centre to a museum-focussed organisation, encompassing all the various roles of modern museums to educate, entertain, stimulate debate and involve diverse people meaningfully in the museum.
The short-term goal for the Crannog Centre was to look at identifying ways to modernise the current exhibitions and telling of more compelling stories. They required specialised assistance from an academic group to review current exhibits and layout of the visitor centre and expertise in heritage interpretation and immersive technologies.
The long-term plan is to move across Loch Tay to a better situated site which can house larger, more extensive visitor facilities including a visitor centre, parking and learning space. A crucial part of this project is building new crannog reconstructions, based on say three different styles of dwelling found in different areas of Scotland. The nature of the build would be to involve communities and volunteers and foster traditional skills and well-being benefits of participants.
The Museum Director, Mike Benson, was referred to Interface through Perth & Kinross Council and picked up by our local Business Engagement Executive Lorna Watson. Lorna worked closely with Mike to understand the Centre’s requirements and identified expertise within the University of the West of Scotland (UWS).
Dr Marco Gilardi, Lecturer, School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, undertook a feasibility study and design of a new form of interactive, mixed reality, immersive experience to virtually link past dwellers and present visitors.
The project delivered:
- A feasibility study on how to innovate the service that the Scottish Crannog Centre delivers to its visitors
- Design of an innovated augmented space and the visitor interaction with it
- A virtual reality demonstrator prototype for the augmented space.
The project was funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, administered by Interface.
The project delivered a new gallery, and the designs for the interactive immersive experiences were integrated within the gallery design and some of them prototyped using different media including virtual reality and mobile apps.
Outside of the formal outputs, the evidence from this project will support a step change that will look to secure the museums future, location and expansion. Being at the forefront of innovation in immersive heritage experiences will attract larger visitor numbers and thereby support the economy of the local area and in Scotland.
The Centre has now received permission and bought the land to move across the loch as part of a £6 million project.
The project developed for the Scottish Crannog Centre was challenging, as it needed to contribute to the stakeholders’ vision of the Scottish Crannog Centre of the future by integrating new technologies without detracting from the excellent visitor experience that the Centre already provides and will provide in the future.
The major benefit UWS got from the project is the relationship established with the Scottish Crannog Centre. Through this relationship, the Centre has enriched their student experience by contributing business-based scenarios for the assessment of some of their modules as well as providing honours degree project opportunities, and opportunities for summer projects with the Digital Arts programme’s students.
Finally, the Centre invited Dr Gilardi to join the Advisory Panel for the new Scottish Crannog Centre development, increasing UWS prestige as an applied University that supports Scottish communities.
The initial project with UWS led to a further project to bring to life an artefact which had never been displayed before. The bridge of a musical instrument, possibly a lyre (a stringed instrument like a small u-shaped harp), was created from the original artefact using 3D printing and is used as a physical exhibit for visitors to be able to hold and feel.
A third project to design a small comic book aimed at children as a paper-based product was undertaken by a student from the University of the Highlands & Islands. This comic, which will be sold in the gift shop, is designed to educate children and young people on life in Iron Age Scotland, as well as the artefacts found on the excavation site and how they relate to life in 500BC.
Mike and the team at the Centre are still actively working with UWS and trying to raise the funding to take projects further. Interface are also continuing to provide support with future projects in the pipeline.
Vanilla Blush is a Glasgow-based medical lingerie business founded by a former nurse, Nicola Dames. The business specialises in garments for people living with a colostomy, ileostomy or a urostomy, which are all categorised as stomas. Approximately 102,000 individuals live with an excretory stoma in the UK, with around 21,000 individuals undergoing stoma-forming surgery each year.
Having a stoma herself, Nicola embarked on her first business venture to develop a new line of underwear for females and males who have suffered from similar conditions. The Vanilla Blush unique underwear is carefully designed with those individuals in mind and comes in a range of colours and sizes with a built-in pouch to conceal the bag.
Listed as a Class 1 Medical Device, the Vanilla Blush garments are supplied to the NHS throughout the UK and are also exported to 18 other countries around the world.
A bowel stoma is an artificial opening on the surface of the abdomen that has been surgically created in order to divert the flow of enteric or faecal matter into an external bag. The most common underlying conditions that may require the formation of a bowel stoma include colorectal cancer, diverticular disease, incontinence and inflammatory bowel disease. One of the most frequent complications following stoma creation is parastomal hernia which occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. The UK Association of Stoma Care Nurses recommends ‘belts/underwear’ ‘to aid prevention of hernias and offer abdominal muscle support.
Nicola Dames was keen to better understand the individual’s experiences of living with a stoma and usage of support garments. To do so, she appointed a Stoma Care Specialist Nurse who was visiting the nurses responsible for these groups of patients to get an understanding of what advice they give around two key issues:
- Exercise with a stoma; and
- Support garments.
Following a referral from Scottish Enterprise, Nicola got in touch with Interface to seek help in finding an academic partner to investigate the following:
- Engage with the findings of their Stoma Care Specialist Nurse’s product outreach and trials.
- Understand why support belts are being prescribed for hernia patients.
Working with Ruth Oliver at Interface, Vanilla Blush was successfully matched with the right academic partner at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to complete the first study, exploring people’s experiences of support garments following bowel stoma formation.
The Department of Nursing at UHI has a thriving health and well-being research group that includes nurses, midwives and behavioural scientists. The current research programme in the Department of Nursing is about physical activity in people who have a stoma. This programme is led by Dr Gill Hubbard, an accomplished researcher, behavioural scientist and Director of Research in the Department of Nursing at UHI.
Dr Hubbard has excellent research partnerships with the Colostomy Association and Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group, as well as Bowel and Cancer Research. She also has a thriving Stoma Patient Advisory Group. Dr Hubbard’s essential expertise enabled Vanilla Blush to address the gaps in their evidence about support garments during physical activity, to reduce the risk of hernia in people who have a bowel stoma.
As a concept, brand and company, Vanilla Blush embodies both the patient’s perspective and academic enterprise, which is required for an ethically-based efficient business offering an economically beneficial service to the NHS.
The key findings from this project resulted in multiple academic manuscripts and have been presented at various industry-leading conferences throughout the UK and Europe. The full publication is available here.
Dunnet Bay Distillers is a microdistillery located in Dunnet Bay on the coastline of the North Sea. They produce award-winning Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka.
The aim of this distillery is to develop a range of distilled products with a focus on locally sourced raw materials.
These include locally grown Rhodiola rosea, rowan berries, and seaweed harvested from the nearby coastline.
In 2013, Martin Murray, company director and, at the time, an MSc student in the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling programme at Heriot-Watt University, contacted Dr Annie Hill at the University looking to generate recipe and process methodology for both a seaweed vodka and seaweed gin.
After contacting Interface, the distillery was awarded a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, administered by Interface, to cover the costs of their collaboration with Heriot-Watt University.
Research work within this project led to the creation of a wide range of novel distilled spirits. The seaweed sample from the shore by the distillery was found to contain three types of seaweed rather than a single type leading to an increase in the number of distillations performed. Products included vodka distilled using a mixed range of seaweed types and using two different methods of distillation, three vodkas distilled with individual types of seaweed, and nine gins distilled with a variation in the botanicals used. Preference testing was carried out for the gins created including taste panel testing of seaweed gin with a range of commonly used mixers to determine the commercial potential of the products.
Martin and his wife Claire have always been keen to make their distillery as green and carbon neutral as possible. With their production growing steadily, the waste generated also increased in tandem. After such a successful project with Heriot-Watt University, the couple sought the assistance of Interface to source additional academic expertise to determine new ways of efficiently reducing and dealing with their waste.
Interface matched them with the University of Aberdeen who have since undertaken an initial review of Dunnet Bay Distillers’ berry waste and plan to take this project further to repurpose the waste for other uses.
Another area that generates considerable waste is the plastic packaging which covers the distiller’s iconic ceramic bottles during their long journey to Dunnet. Martin worked with the University of Strathclyde and a student group to determine alternative uses for this packaging so that it does not end up in landfill. The project is now complete and Martin is looking at implementing the suggested solution on site.
Another challenge Dunnet Bay Distillers faced as production increased was the ability to know if the water tank for distilling was near empty. Martin’s very basic method of hitting it with his hand to determine how full it was needed an upgrade but he simply did not have the time to research and implement any new technology. Through working with Shaie MacDonald at Interface, a student from UHI North Highland College was recruited to develop a customised gauge for them. The project has now been completed and the solution implemented and incorporated into a bigger piece of work by a consultant.
On seeking academic help within your business, never think a project is too small. The expertise out there is vast and until you work with an intermediary such as Interface, it is very difficult and time consuming to find a potential match. Interface can help you define your project clearly and take a lot of the time burden away so that you can get the right expert help when you need it, said Martin Murray, Director, Dunnet Bay Distillers.
Please note that Interface administers the Innovation Voucher Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council. All funding applications are reviewed on a case by case basis by the Scottish Funding Council, guidelines can be found here.