Business needs to grasp the opportunities from collaboration with academia



Businesses are being urged to grasp the opportunities brought by R&D in partnership with academics to help them innovate, adapt and overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Siobhán Jordan, director of Interface, said: “Through our annual results we have demonstrated a real buoyancy and desire by companies across Scotland to transform rapidly through innovation.

“In fact, 53% of companies recently surveyed thought that creating innovative solutions to problems should be the top priority of businesses in future.

“It is well documented that companies that innovate are more resilient in a crisis, more likely to expand into new markets during disruptions and more likely to be able to retain staff and grow in difficult trading conditions.

“The pandemic required urgent ideas, solutions and immediate interventions.”

Interface works in partnership with universities and colleges to deliver innovation.

Jordan said: “We had our highest level of collaborations in this past academic year, up to July, with 329 projects delivered, creating and safeguarding 77 jobs.

“Delivering a 22% year-on-year increase in partnerships and investments in innovation clearly demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland is thriving even during a time of crisis.”

The past six months have also shown the desire by academics of all disciplines to support company-led challenges that deliver new and/or improved products, processes and services in short time scales.

Interface said moving at speed to set up collaborations is key, as is Interface’s ability to target funding from a variety of UK bodies to support small and medium sized businesses’ partnerships with academics.

Interface supports business by unlocking knowledge, expertise, talent and facilities in universities and colleges.

The outcomes from the free service are in line with the key recommendations in the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report led by Benny Higgins and the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review by Mark Logan to support and nurture businesses from start-up to maturity.

Its pan-Scotland approach means that it delivers benefits in every region.

Jordan added: “Partnerships with universities and colleges are vital to scale businesses with the consequent benefits of job creation and enhanced profits.”



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