Over the next couple of months, SDS are running a series of employer webinars providing information and advice on topics such as workforce planning and development, talent attraction, skills for a changing landscape and workplace culture and wellbeing as follows:

14 February, 11am – Talent Attraction
20 February, 11am – Wellbeing at Work: Key Management Skills for a Thriving Workforce
6 March, 12.30pm – Microsoft Virtual Events Powered by Teams
12 March, 11am – Joyful Workspaces: Mastering Skills for Cultivating Workplace Happiness
20 March, 12.30pm – Skills for a Changing Landscape
27 March, 11am – Workforce Development

For more information on all SDS webinars and how to register go here.

The Bioeconomy Cluster Builder and the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership Net Zero Programme are delighted to host this webinar dedicated to exchanging knowledge and building connections between food industry and industrial biotechnology (IB) stakeholders.

Biotechnology uses the metabolic processes of plants, fungi, algae and micro-organisms to create valuable products. Traditional examples include baking, brewing and cheese production. However, recent developments have seen innovative applications of IB across the food value chain.

These applications have resulted in improved agricultural yields, alternative proteins such as mycoprotein and cultured meat, sustainable ingredients like flavourings and colourants, and the creation of high value products from waste and co-products. In this way, IB has helped increase efficiency and environmental performance, making significant contributions to the decarbonisation of food production and processing.

Join the webinar on Tuesday 23rd January to learn how biotechnology is transforming food systems and to discover how the Bioeconomy Cluster Builder can help you connect with the right people and resources to support your ambitions in this area.

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) is running a dedicated feasibility funding call to complement this event. Grants of up to £10k are available to support industry led collaborations with Scottish academics.

The award-winning meet-up series, Art of Possible returns in December with a special edition online webinar, featuring Philip P. Crowley, angel investor, attorney and founder of Crowley Law LLC, renowned New York corporate law firm.

Join Glasgow City of Science and Innovation and the CAN DO Innovation Event Programme for this exclusive webinar, as they delve into the critical insights Philip has gained from decades of experience advising clients across various tech-based industries. Discover the top 10 pitfalls that can lead to startup failure and, more importantly, gain access to the proven “antidotes” that will set your venture on the path to success.

Who Should Attend?

Whether you’re an aspiring founder, an investor looking for promising ventures or a professional involved in the startup ecosystem, this session will provide valuable guidance to increase your prospects for success and longevity in competitive tech sectors.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Phil’s from-the-trenches expertise and identification of mistakes to avoid to steer your tech startup toward sustainable growth.

About Art of Possible

Art of Possible events highlight trends in the emerging and enabling tech sector and how these can be applied to tackle business challenges – and provides a regular meet-up space to support multi-sector collaboration and knowledge exchange for our innovation community. Art of Possible is a year-round fringe series for the national CAN DO Innovation Summit, as part of the CAN DO Innovation Event Programme.

This year’s Healthy Ageing conference organised by UKRI’s Healthy Ageing Challenge, delivered by Innovate UK and ESRC, will again be held both in-person and online on 13 and 14 Nov, with registration free to all.

Join the conference and the innovative project investments, together with thought leaders, investors, commissioners and policy makers working across geographies, sectors and academic disciplines, for a conference which will share the impact innovation is having around the UK, major research programme insights, alongside providing numerous collaboration and networking opportunities.

This year’s headline theme is ‘Adding Life to Years’ within this context the conference will focus on the 4 areas where innovation is achieving the greatest impact: Care, Work, Staying Active and Housing. It will also bring to life other hot topics that regularly inspire discussion and shared learning including co-production, addressing inequalities, demonstrating impact, and how to support mental health and wellbeing.

The UKRI Healthy Ageing Conference is part of Longevity Week, which runs 13 – 17 November and this year focuses on 100 Minutes of Longevity and the Changing Life Course.

A collaboration with Scottish Forestry exploring opportunities to create value from Scotland’s residual forestry bioresources.

It is widely recognised that significant opportunities exist to apply biotechnology to create value from co-products arising from the Scottish forestry industry. The National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology, the Biorefining Potential for Scotland, and the Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group Roots for Further Growth strategy all identify forestry residues as critical resources and emphasise a need to focus on their valorisation.

However, to date progress across Scotland has been limited. This webinar explores activity overseas through contributions from RISE Processum in Sweden. UK start-up Sonichem will discuss the development of their ultrasonic biorefinery technology and share their scale-up ambitions. Following this the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University will share insights around high value compounds that can be derived from forestry residues. Finally, Scottish Forestry outline their plans to make the most of local bio-resources.


Who should attend:

For further information please contact Kim Cameron at IBioIC – kim.cameron@ibioic.com

The Bioeconomy Cluster Builder (BCB) is a collaboration between the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and Innovate UK KTN.


Smartify is a tech company originally based out of London.  It has developed an online platform serving the arts, culture and heritage sector, connecting destinations with their visitors. It provides cultural institutions with cutting-edge digital capabilities to manage the visitor experience; and at the same time, it acts as a platform to help them reach a broader audience. Smartify currently has a reach of over 4 million users as of June 2023.

The Challenge

Smartify was looking to develop its XR (Extended Reality) infrastructure to allow the company to develop experiences which could be easily scaled in a cost-effective manner and across multiple platforms (iOS, Android and Web).  Smartify were needing to develop a novel XR platform to be integrated within the Smartify app. They were looking for academic expertise in AR/VR/XR but also an understanding of the tourism and heritage sector.

The Solution

Smartify were already an active member of the Travel Tech for Scotland (TTfS) community with a strong customer base including Scottish National Galleries, Kelvingrove, National Museums of Scotland, Blair Castle, Highlife Highland, and National Trust for Scotland. 

Lesley Judge of TTfS referred Smartify to Interface who made them aware of the *Inward Investment Catalyst Fund. Through Interface’s search and matchmaking services, Smartify were introduced to Dr Marco Gilardi from the Division of Computing at the University of the West of Scotland, who has a wealth of experience in AR/VR/XR and has been part of an academic group providing knowledge exchange on this subject for the tourism and heritage sector. 

The project aimed to support the company in developing XR applications using web technologies and, in the process, help them develop their market presence in Scotland. The objective of the project was to develop proof of concepts and test them with the market which was achieved successfully with a commercial project delivered as result. 

*The Inward Investment Catalyst Fund has been set up by Interface and the Scottish Government to attract and support businesses, not yet located in Scotland to collaborate with academic institutions on their research and development activity to strengthen the case for developing a base in Scotland. 

The Benefits

For the Company

For the University

For Scotland

Improving efficiencies in Food and Drink manufacturing.

With the recent impacts of Covid-19, Brexit, increasing price of energy and the cost-of-living crisis, it is more important than ever that food and drink manufacturers reduce production and manufacturing costs.

The Food and Drink TechHUB Business Support Service, in partnership with the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) are running this webinar to offer helpful and practical advice in how you can improve efficiencies in your food and drink manufacturing process to reduce costs and save money.

This 1-hour webinar will provide advice on Lean for profitability and growth and will include:

• Understand what Lean is, in the context of operations & business improvement.

• Understand how Lean can be deployed to increase productivity and reduce costs.

• Understand how Lean can be deployed to improve service levels and open new revenue streams.

The workshop will also include a case study from a business that has recently gone through the Lean process which has resulted in several improvements to their manufacturing process and significant cost savings.

The Food and Drink TechHUB is a Northern Innovation Hub programme funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal – a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands.


Ecomar Propulsion Ltd is based in Fareham on the South Coast of the UK and was first registered in 2019.  Ecomar Propulsion Ltd is involved in the research, development and production of high performance electric and hybrid hydrogen marine propulsion systems. 

Their team of highly skilled engineers and technical experts are working to reduce global emissions by creating high efficiency, high output marine engines and energy storage solutions. The company only works with fully clean electric systems to allow current vessel owners the opportunity to seamlessly transfer to clean marine or new build yards to offer electric vessel options. 

Ecomar Propulsion produces two products for clean marine vessels; outboard systems and inboard systems powered by battery and hydrogen with a company aspiration of removing 10 million tonnes of toxic exhaust fumes from the marine environment within 10 years. 

In 2021 the company increased its workforce to 8 staff and then to 12 by Jan 2023, with further expected growth.  The company has been recognized with several awards from the Maritime UK (Solent) Clean Marine Innovator and Maritime UK Diversity Champion Finalist 2022 through to SETSquared University Network Award for Environmental Impact 2022. 

The Challenge 

The business challenge for Ecomar Propulsion arose when their manufacturer of hydraulic rams in the Far East ceased supply of their products. This left a significant challenge for Ecomar Propulsion but also an opportunity for the company to look at developing their supply chain within the UK.  Another requirement was to ensure the materials being used are as environmentally sustainable as possible from a circular economy perspective. 

The Solution 

Scottish Enterprise introduced Ecomar Propulsion to NMIS, and as a result of their interest in developing a Scottish supply chain and bringing production to Scotland to overcome a global supply chain issue of electric outboard motors, they were eligible to apply for the Inward Investment Catalyst Fund to support activity.  The Inward Investment Catalyst Fund supports businesses not yet located in Scotland but seeking to establish stronger ties with academia here.  As well as funding the research and development it provides an opportunity for the company to establish relationships and give insight into other aspects of the Scottish landscape, such as further investment opportunities, supply chains and the skills base to strengthen the case for investing in Scotland. 

The teams at NMIS and University of Strathclyde developed their understanding of the design and manufacturing parameters to find replacement components that would be robust enough for the extreme demands of the marine environment.   Research and outreach were carried out with companies specializing in hydraulic production in Scotland.  Further discussions with selected companies are taking place to develop future alternatives to current suppliers in order to close the gap in the market and provide consistency of supply. 

The Next Steps 

This project has allowed Ecomar Propulsion to better understand the work of NMIS and the University of Strathclyde and how the skills of the teams can allow Ecomar to plan further growth in Scotland and engage with the wider available supply chain.  

Whilst an immediate supplier for marine hydraulic rams was not found, the team have introduced Ecomar Propulsion to several companies which they would not have met had they not taken part in this project. Through meeting senior members of the academic community, potential further opportunities have been identified to explore additional supply chain introductions and manufacturing routes in Scotland for Ecomar Propulsion’s full product range.  

Continued collaboration will be facilitated with the Head of Electrification Manufacturing Programmes at NMIS, and allow Ecomar Propulsion and NMIS to engage with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise in relation to future facility planning and supply chain partnerships. Additionally, opportunities will be aligned with the University of Strathclyde’s strategic direction in electrification manufacturing, notably in PEMD (power electronics, machines and drives) through DER-IC Scotland (Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre), ensuring that expansion of capabilities is informed and driven by industry requirements. 

This project benefitted from the Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst Fund.  The Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst Fund launched by Interface and the Scottish Government promotes Scotland as a leading destination for inward investment and supports businesses not yet located in Scotland but seeking to establish stronger ties with academia here.  As well as funding research and development it provides an opportunity for the company to establish relationships and give insight into other aspects of the Scottish landscape, such as further investment opportunities, supply chains and the skills base to strengthen the case for investing in Scotland.

Learn more about the Scottish Inward Investment Fund 

‘Net Zero’ means the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we put into the atmosphere and the amount we’re able to take out will add up to zero. The Scottish Government have ambitious targets to reach net zero by 2045, with interim targets of 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040. Our first step in becoming net zero is to reduce our emissions by changing our actions and processes.

This one hour long technical webinar will give you an overview of what support is available from the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership to help food and drink businesses implement a net zero strategy. The session will also include case studies outlining some of the practical processes and procedures food and drink businesses can implement to move towards net zero. This will include a presentation from Windswept Brewing who are implementing sustainable energy and waste management innovations that will improve energy efficiencies, conserve resources and reduce waste and wastewater generation.


16.00 Welcome and Introduction to TechHUB – Alistair Trail, SAC Consulting.

16.05 Introduction to net zero and net zero response programme – Ian Clunie, Net Zero Programme Director – Scotland Food and Drink Partnership.

16.25 The Benefits of carbon audits to support Net Zero, Sarah Erbanova, SAC Consulting.

16.40 Net Zero Case Study – Nigel Tiddy, Windswept Brewing.

16.55 Q + A

17.00 End

The Food and Drink TechHUB is a Northern Innovation Hub programme funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal – a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands.