The Scottish Knowledge exchange awards are back for 2018 and this year promises to be the biggest yet, with Scotland’s colleges being invited to enter for the first time.
The awards, run by Interface, connect businesses with universities, research institutes and colleges to recognise and reward achievements made through collaborations between businesses and academia.
The Knowledge Exchange Awards will recognise the economic and environmental benefits to come from these partnerships. A new category has been added for 2018 – the Social and Environmental Impact Award, which celebrates collaborative projects that contribute towards a 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 awards event, a 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.
Dr Jordan continued: "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.”
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 have undertaken to help bring our idea closer to a commercial product. “
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.
The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards will be held at the Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh, on Thursday 22 February 2018.