Sign up for a day of inspiration, insights, learning and networking. Supply chain resilience, industry 4.0 technologies, leadership & culture, operational excellence and sustainability will all be covered. Find out how the manufacturing sector responded to a global pandemic, how it can recover and how we will reimagine the future.

The conference, previously known as the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) National Manufacturing Conference, will arm manufacturing sector and supply chain businesses with the ambition, vision, knowledge, tools and networks to increase productivity and maintain future competitiveness.

Making Scotland’s Future is a partnership between Scottish Government, public agencies, industry and academia that are collectively taking forward a programme of activity designed to secure a strong, sustainable future for Scotland’s manufacturing sector, aligned to the Scottish Government’s ambitions in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. The power of Making Scotland’s Future lies in harnessing all of its collective networks, channels and support to help drive productivity, innovation and competitiveness, maintain and create high-quality jobs, and attract and develop talent, while embedding low carbon and sustainable manufacturing as its core. The vision is for Scotland to be a country inventing, designing, developing and manufacturing world-leading products and technologies. Through continuing support and investment, we are making Scotland’s future today.

The Making Scotland’s Future Conference is being led by Scottish Enterprise on behalf of the Making Scotland’s Future partnership.

Interface are exhibiting and we’d love to see you there!

Venue: APEX City Quay Hotel, Dundee

The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, sponsored by Salix Finance, is the flagship event that celebrates the partnerships between business, third sector or public sector organisations and academia. Now in its eighth year the annual event recognises, rewards, and celebrates the impacts achieved through these exciting collaborations that enrich society and support sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

To discover more about the categories, and how to apply visit our recent article. Read More.


Brian McCormack is a former coal miner turned inventor on a mission to improve ­cancer detection rates while ­helping the environment at the same time.

His company, McCormack Innovation Ltd, was initially set up to address the low return rates of bowel or colorectal cancer screening programmes worldwide where most return or compliance rates around a disappointing 50%. Harnessing soluble material as a solution and working in partnership with Smartsolve Industries based in Ohio, USA, the business has identified an ideal material to be used in stool sample collection that can then be harmlessly flushed away.

From their further research with similar “soluble” material, the idea to create an easily removed wound dressing came about.  McCormack Innovation has patented an application for the FlushAway™ “soluble” wounds dressing. Using water dispersible material, these dressings can be used for burns units and patients with other ultrasensitive skin conditions like Epidermolysis Bullosa.


There are presently many types of wound dressings on the market, even those described for use on sensitive skin. However, none of the current range of products include a wound dressing that is secure enough to complete the task yet can easily and painlessly be removed by showering or spraying with water. The FlushAway™ wound dressing addresses both these needs.

The business was looking to engage with academia to have the base material dermatologically tested and developed accordingly for market entry.


After being referred by Business Gateway in Fife, Interface was able to match the company with Professor Robert Keatch and Dr Jan Vorstius at the University of Dundee to undergo the following:

Specialist facilities at the University, along with access to clinicians and medical staff, were used for testing the biomaterials for use in the wound dressing.

In a product report, Professor Keatch and Dr Vorstius said: “All materials under test performed well, keeping their integrity and structure until exposed to water.

“The proposal to use this material as a secondary wound dressing would therefore be viable, providing the outer dressing can be kept dry until removal is required.

“This method would certainly reduce trauma inflicted during bandage removal and retain all the features of the conventional cotton and crepe bandages used.”


The technical results from this project should help inform the further optimisation of the material for use in a number of medical applications.  When ready for production, these innovative products will transform the market and bring about significant clinical improvements and patent relief at the point of care. 

The company has been nominated for a large number of innovation awards, both nationally and internationally, and has been approached by some large biomedical companies interested in licensing the technology. 

Ivan Wood & Sons Limited is a small, family run business based in Fife.  It is a wholesaler of fruit and vegetables, principally to the catering trade.  It has been developing and growing its processing facility for vegetable preparation, always trying out new ways to extend shelf-life and to provide the best possible product to its customers. 


With new legislation coming into force in January 2016, intending to stop the disposal of starch from foods like rice and potatoes going into the water supply and blocking pipes, businesses such as fish and chip shops, fast food outlets, and Chinese takeaways will need to have a mechanism in place to restrict the amount of starch that is going down their drains.

To comply with this new legislation, Malcolm Wood, Managing Director of Ivan Wood & Sons, developed an affordable starch filtration system design so that his business, which processes 30,000 kilos of potatoes a week, would meet the requirements of the new legislation.

Its suitability for broader use, however, soon became apparent, with Malcolm identifying a gap in the market for an affordable filtration system to help other small businesses.

He said:

“When I first started working on this design, I had no idea it was going to have so much potential.”

Whilst developing a working prototype, Malcolm was put in touch with Interface who would be able to connect him to academic experts from across Scotland for further development of the prototype. The connection was established through a referral to Food Health & Innovation Service (FHIS) by Business Gateway.


After sending out a search to various universities within Scotland, Interface connected Malcolm with Abertay University.  The partnership submitted a joint application for funding and, ultimately, secured a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Innovate UK and the Scottish Funding Council.

Regarding his invention, Malcolm Wood says that:

“Although there are systems that exist which do something similar, they are priced far too high for most businesses to be able to afford them.”

“I certainly couldn’t, so I’m really pleased to have been awarded this KTP with Abertay, as it means my invention will be able to help other businesses that would otherwise be struggling to find a way to comply with the new legislation.”

Business Benefits

Dr Jon Wilkin, Senior Food Technologist at Abertay’s food & drink business support service, Food Innovation @ Abertay, said that the KTP

“means we’ll be able to build Malcolm’s model commercially, ensure that it works and also investigate new ways to make use of the starch that’s extracted through the process so that nothing goes to waste”.

He added that with more than 10,500 fish and chips shops in the UK, and an equal number of Chinese and Indian takeaways who will need to meet the new legislation, this is a huge business opportunity for Ivan Wood & Sons.

“The hotel and restaurant trade will also have to adapt, so Malcolm has really hit on a great idea with this model, as there is a genuine commercial need for it,” he continued.

Dr Jon Wilkin, who leads the project with Professor Joe Akuna from the University’s Urban Water Technology Centre, also noted that Malcolm Wood’s business has already been contacted by third parties interested in purchasing the final product.

“We’re looking forward to getting started on this new project,” Jon said.

Following the project the KTP Associate from Abertay University was employed full time by Ivan Wood & Sons Ltd. A second KTP project with Abertay University is on the horizon for Ivan Wood & Sons to investigate how PeelTech could be used for domestic use.

Academic Benefits

The benefits to academia on working on such a collaboration are many:

Company update 2020

Peel Tech units are now being utilised in clearing and collecting algae for medicinal purposes as well as use in the green energy sector and is being trialled in the fish processing sector. 


Ivan Wood and Sons are now working with the University of Edinburgh on a Resource Efficiency Common Interest Group project looking into how PeelTech can be used in UV water filtration to remove bacteria in the recycling of water from fisheries. 


John White & Son, a Fife-based family business, is recognised as the oldest independent weighing company in the UK. The present Managing Director, Edwin White, is the eighth generation to be involved in the business since its foundation by his ancestor John White in 1715.


Throughout the 20th century, the company expanded its range of industrial weighing equipment to include retail scales and pre-set weighing machines, from which the company’s flagship product, the Cartomat checkweigher was developed in the 1960’s and used widely across the spirit bottling industry.

By the 1970’s, with advances in technology and mechanical weighing machines being phased out, the company transitioned to electronic weighing, pioneering in the manufacture and development of a broad range of electronic weighing equipment. 

However, the last decade has heralded a transformation in the use of weighing systems as the industry embraces huge technological advances in engineering software and in particular, the use of mobile weighing technology.

The commercial automotive industry remains a strong market for the company and John White is now expanding its product range to develop a new suite of mobile weighing systems for a wide range of automotive applications. In order to develop its mobile weighing systems for a range of vehicle types, the company’s Research and Development have focused on areas such as electronics, design, engineering, software, instrumentation and prototype development.

John White initially sought assistance from Technology Ventures Scotland – the independent body tasked with brokering Knowledge Transfer and R&D commercialisation opportunities in Scotland, who in turn referred John White to Interface.


Interface brokered links to David Kennedy, an academic working at University of the West of Scotland School of Engineering and Science (formerly the School of Science and Technology at Bell College, Hamilton). 

Following discussions between the academic and the company they decided to apply for grant funding from The Scottish Government under the SCORE programme – a scheme designed to support R&D projects jointly undertaken between public sector research bodies (such as Higher Education Institutes, Research Institutes, and Scottish SMEs). 

The funding application was successful and the 18 month collaborative project between John White and the University of West of Scotland started to work on a prototype that will herald the next generation of advanced electronic weighing systems and allow the company to further develop its manufacturing capabilities.

Business benefits

Edwin White, Managing Director, John White & Son (Weighing Machines) Ltd. said:

“We are delighted with the progress of this collaboration. By combining the input from our own staff who have long experience in the field of weighing with the knowledge and expertise from the University of the West of Scotland, we are able to cut down on the time needed to develop our new range of products. Using Interface has been of great benefit and it can do the same for other companies in a similar position to ourselves”.

Shelley is a knowledge exchange professional brokering award winning collaborative R&D projects between Scottish businesses and academia for over a decade. As part of the Interface management team her focus is on raising awareness of the value of our world class academic base, building relationships and identifying opportunities to support university, college and research institutes priorities and their role in delivering prosperity for Scotland.

Shelley is also a co-opted Committee Member of City of Glasgow College’s Board of Management where she provides insight and analysis to the Management Board on commercial and international activities, assessing and managing risks and opportunities.

Shelley graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BA Honours degree in International Business and Modern Languages. Following a stint spent working and travelling around North America she moved back to the UK to start her career in sales and business support.

Outside of work Shelley is passionate about fitness and is most often found at CrossFit or having a swim in the North Sea!