By Emer O’Toole
Interface, which unites businesses with universities, has aided 583 businesses in enhancing their services by encouraging projects with academics from Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
Strathclyde has started 99 of these collaborations through interface – more than any of Scotland’s other HEIs – since the company launched in 2005. Interface revealed that these partnerships could potentially produce 2400 Scottish jobs by 2019.
Dr David McBeth, Director of Strathclyde’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Services, commented: “Strathclyde is a leading international technological university, with a strong tradition of helping businesses and organisations to innovate and develop, and we are naturally delighted to see this reflected in the Interface report.
“We have an excellent track record of working with a range of clients locally, nationally and globally in the private, public and voluntary sectors, and collaborate effectively with each of our partners so that our staff’s cutting-edge knowledge has maximum impact around the world. By working together, we can develop solutions to challenges which are central to economic regeneration, help businesses become more competitive, and further develop the highly-skilled graduates needed by today’s employers.”
Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director at Interface spoke about how her organisation has collaborated with all 24 Scottish HEIs and Royal Institutions.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of enquiries from businesses, but it’s astounding that so many are still unaware of the funding opportunities that could be available for them to undertake specific research.
“And it’s not just about what businesses get from collaborating with HEIs. The impacts to the universities include enhanced teaching, employability for graduates and new ideas for strategic research.”
The cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen produced the largest number of business enquiries to Interface with Scotland’s HEIs generating over £14.1 million.
Over 250 companies want to form a partnership with Interface at the moment.
Dr Jordan added: “In 2012/13 alone, we had 425 enquiries from businesses – almost a third of which have already led to a project.”
“Scotland is renowned for its innovation, and our HEIs are teeming with experts who are willing, and able, to work with business and help solve problems or come up with solutions to drive business growth.
“Interface is a globally unique organisation in its impartial service to match academia and businesses, and Scotland’s business community has reaped the benefits of being able to tap into experts who can help them to explore opportunities, improve their products and services, or overcome a business risk.”
Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland discussed the “culture change” that has happened in Scottish universities over the past decade.
“Impressive though they are, these figures represent only one element of university and business collaboration which just goes to show the significant value universities add to the business base and to Scotland’s economy.”
Interface’s collaborations generate over £17 million to Scotland per year and this total could hit £80 million by 2019.}