The winners of the four Interface Excellence Awards for 2014 have been announced by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, in Edinburgh.

The winners are:

Innovation of the Year Award

Loadfast Systems of Amulree, Perthshire. Working in collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University, Loadfast Systems has developed a cascade chute system for the vertical transportation of materials.

Sustainable Partnership Award

MARA Seaweed of Edinburgh. Working in partnership with the Scottish Association for Marine Science, University of the Highlands and Islands, MARA Seaweed has developed commercially viable tank-based seaweed cultivation.  

The Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange Award

Dr Nigel Kerby, Managing Director of Mylnefield Research Services (MRS) Ltd of Invergowrie. Specialising in crop science, analytical chemistry, environmental science and soil science, Dr Kerby is a regular speaker on these topics at conferences, trade shows and symposia in Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally. 

The Multi-Party Collaboration Award

The Food and Drink Industry Advisory Group on Resource Efficiency, comprising Zero Waste Scotland, The Scottish Food and Drink Federation and Interface Food and Drink. 

Current projects include research into how waste water from food and drink production sites can be treated to remove organic material in bioreactors, and a second project is establishing how treating water with UV light after it has been used to clean mussels will enable recycling of the water. Several universities are involved with the Group, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Napier. 

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

“Innovation plays a vital role in driving productivity and sustainable economic growth. Interface is a key partner in supporting businesses accessing knowledge from our fantastic research base.

“The Interface Excellence Awards highlight the outstanding contributions and successes of business and academic collaborations throughout Scotland. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for their ingenuity, industry and creativity.”

Dr Siobhán Jordan, director of Interface, adds:

“The Interface Excellence Awards celebrate the success of collaborations between SMEs and Scottish academia and recognise the efforts to grow their organisations and drive innovation across the marketplace.  Through individual projects and their continued contribution towards Knowledge Exchange the companies and their academic partners are making a real difference to the Scottish economy.”