Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards campus photo

The third Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards are shaping up to be the biggest celebration of business-academic collaborations yet with Scotland’s colleges invited to enter for the first time.

The awards, run by Interface, which connects business to universities, research institutes and colleges, recognise, reward and celebrate impacts achieved through collaborative business and academic partnerships.

Impacts of the projects include economic, benefits to society and environmental advances and a new category has been added this year to reflect this – the Social and Environmental Impact Award which celebrates collaborative projects which ultimately contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future.

The other four categories are:

Innovation of the Year: for the development of an innovative product, process or service;

Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange: recognising an individual from business or academia who has played a pivotal role in knowledge exchange within Scotland;

Multiparty Collaboration: for groups of three or more parties working in collaboration on an innovative research project to solve a common challenge;

Building Skills Through Knowledge Exchange: recognising final year students, postgraduate students or Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associates who have worked within a business to increase innovation.

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said: 

“The awards have gone from strength to strength and have grown into a dynamic celebration of academic – business collaborations which have had significant impact on the economy and society in Scotland and beyond.

The application and judging processes culminates in the prestigious award event, a key networking opportunity for anyone interested in collaborating with academia to scale their business or solve an issue they are facing. For academics, it is a chance to meet like-minded people in the knowledge exchange world, as well as businesses which may be looking for a collaborative partner.

"Innovation in every industry is vital to Scotland's economic growth and there are numerous examples of the smallest family-run business right up to global companies tapping into our world-class academic expertise to bring major benefit to people's lives in a variety of ways.” 

Previous winners have told us that the award has brought recognition for their company and the product and it has spurred them onto look for more ways they can continue collaborating with academia. 

Stuart Speake, Managing Director of Soltropy, Sustained Partnership of the Year Winner 2016, said:

"Winning an award for our partnership with Heriot-Watt University has given us independent and positive acknowledgement for the work that we had under-taken to help bring our idea closer to a commercial product. Since winning the award we went onto win the £100k Scottish Edge Higgs Award and are about to launch our Solar Thermal Technology."

Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and chair of Interface Strategic Board, said: 

"With the next Research Excellence Framework in 2021, this is an excellent opportunity for universities to prepare case studies to help strengthen the value of their research. The benefits to universities of working with business are many, from opening new areas of research to bringing fresh challenges to researchers, students and lecturers. This celebration of these collaborations is not to be missed."

John Kemp, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:

“This event reinvents itself each year and always offers something new. This year I’m really pleased to see colleges being given the chance to showcase their growing contribution to knowledge exchange and SFC is really looking forward to the 2018 awards.”

The winners will be chosen by a specially selected panel of judges who will be looking for innovative, impactful and transformative collaborations and the people contributing to knowledge exchange. Either academic or business partner can submit an application by the deadline of 5pm on Monday 27 November 2017.

The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards will be held at the Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh, on Thursday 22 February, 2018.

For further information on the awards application forms or please go to: 


Note to editors:

Interface connects businesses from all sectors to Scotland’s universities, research institutes and colleges.  It is a unique service designed to address the growing demand from organisations and businesses which want to engage with academia.

Companies supported by Interface inject an estimated £64.2 million into the economy annually through their partnerships with academics. 

Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Interface is a free and impartial service which aims to stimulate demand for innovation and encourage companies to consider academic support to help solve their business challenges.


The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2018

Entries for the Innovation of the Year Award must have been supported by Interface, Interface Food & Drink, or have received funding from Interface Food & Drink or the Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher Scheme.