Logo showing four overlapping different coloured triangles with the wording Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2021

Now in its sixth year, the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, celebrating the exceptional work achieved through academic and business partnerships, launch today (Thursday 3 December, 2020).

Hosted by Interface, the business-academic matchmaker in Scotland, the awards ceremony will be held virtually in 2021, on World Creativity and Innovation Day (21 April).

Two new categories have been unveiled – one to showcase the incredible business-academic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a second will shine the spotlight on an individual or team behind the scenes who have been pivotal in forging impactful business-academic partnerships.

Applications are being invited in eight categories – the largest number yet – from businesses, public sector organisations, third sector, universities, research institutes and colleges which are in leading the way towards economic growth, societal improvements and environmental advances in Scotland and beyond.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, who has attended the Awards for the past two years, said:  

“Innovation will underpin the growth of Scotland’s high value, inclusive and sustainable economy and organisations must collaborate if we are to achieve our full potential. 

“Interface's rapid response to the challenges of COVID-19 demonstrates what Scottish businesses and academia are capable of. This ability to pivot, innovate and co-operate will be key to Scotland’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

 “The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards are an important showcase of the important, and growing links, between business and academia and I am delighted to support this event.”

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said: 

“In what has been a difficult year, business-academic partnerships have continued to make a difference, rising to the many challenges brought by COVID-19, as well as other health, societal and environment issues.

“We are looking forward to receiving a high level of applications from across Scotland, showcasing the best of business-academic partnerships.”

The categories are:  

Innovation of the Year 

Awarded to an innovative product, process or service that has been developed during the past five years.  

Powerful Partnership

For an academic – business collaboration that has demonstrated long term strategic partnering and the benefits to both the business and the academic teams achieved through knowledge exchange. 

Multiparty Collaboration 

Open to groups of three or more parties working together on an innovative research project; the group must include research partners from academia and at least one business.  

Knowledge Exchange Champion 

Recognising an individual in academia (university, college, research institute), business or support organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to Knowledge Exchange.  

Making a Difference  

Celebrating collaborative projects which have achieved significant social or environmental impacts that ultimately contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future. 

Innovator of the Future  

Open to Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associates, Further Education and Higher Education students or Postgraduate Students who have been hosted or sponsored by a business based in Scotland for a minimum of three months for a specific project that has increased the skills of the individual associate or student, as well as increased innovation within the company. 

Knowledge Exchange Heroes

Recognising an individual or team behind the scenes in an academic research & innovation or research enterprise office who has/have played a pivotal role in assisting knowledge exchange projects between business and academic partnerships.  

COVID-19 Collaboration Response  

This award is given for an innovative product, process or service that has been developed in response to COVID-19 in conjunction with a university, research institute or college partner. Applications should demonstrate how the business-academic partnership has been fundamental in rising to the “National Mission” in the battle against coronavirus and the ongoing economic recovery, helping to “build back better”. 

The winners will be chosen by a specially selected virtual judging panel who will be looking for collaborations which show innovation, impact (societal or economic) and transformation, along with recognising the people contributing to knowledge exchange.

Either academics or businesses can submit an application by the deadline of 5pm on Friday, 12 February 2021.

For further information on the awards or application forms please go to: https://www.interface-online.org.uk/scottish-knowledge-exchange-awards-2021