The finalists for the annual celebration of business-academic partnerships in Scotland that show innovation have been revealed.

Twenty-two nominees have been shortlisted in the eighth Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, hosted by Interface.

The awards – which are to be held in Dundee in March – will aim to highlight the businesses, institutes and individuals which have the potential to “create positive change”.

The finalists are: 

Innovation of the Year – sponsored by HGF Ltd 

The Prebiotic Company and Glasgow Caledonian University for collaborating on a study to prove the health benefits of prebiotic fibre-infused water, and its impact on improving cardiovascular health, mood, sleep and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.  

The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust and the University of Glasgow for developing an interactive Robert Burns Minecraft digital gaming experience to highlight the life and great works of the National Bard and to explore innovative interactive ways of engaging with younger audiences. 

Sustainable Thinking Scotland CIC and University of the Highlands and Islands for optimisation of biochar, a stable form of carbon obtained from baking waste wood. This biochar assists tackling nutrient pollution, preventing toxic, algal blooms whilst improving water quality, filtering algae, reducing particulates in water and providing a carbon biochar that can be re-used on land as a slow-release fertiliser. 

Innovator of the Future – sponsored by SCI Scotland Group 

Ed Blissett, Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate from the University of Aberdeen, who collaborated with Motive Offshore Group Ltd on the development of a novel Digital Winch technology that integrated sensors and IT hardware into existing equipment. 

Dr Emmanuel I. Epelle, KTP Associate from the University of the West of Scotland, who collaborated with Advanced Clothing Solutions to develop a novel and automated decontamination process.  

Dr Shu Yang, KTP Associate from the University of the West of Scotland, who collaborated with Consult Lift Services to embed leadership and management skills alongside modern business systems and processes.  

Knowledge Exchange Champion 

Professor Fiona Macpherson, University of Glasgow, renowned researcher in philosophy and Director of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience has championed the importance of virtual reality for education and has been leading developments in immersive technology to benefit students in Scotland and beyond.  

Professor Naeem Ramzan, University of the West of Scotland, is an international scientist, engineer, and innovator in Artificial Intelligence and Multimedia Processing. He actively supports knowledge exchange projects from grassroots level through to providing strategic insight to industry thought-leaders.  

Professor Pete Smith, University of Aberdeen leads research on land-based ecosystems and carbon cycling, greenhouse gas emissions, soils, agriculture, food systems, bioenergy, and modelling for climate change mitigation with environmental and agricultural sustainability whilst also advising the Scottish Government on global best practice in tackling climate emergency. 

Knowledge Exchange Heroes – sponsored by PraxisAuril 

University of the West of Scotland KTP Centre, is Scotland’s first dedicated KTP Centre, delivering business, societal and environmental impact as well as propelling the careers of the next generation of business leaders in the UK and internationally through a culture of support, recognition and excellence in customer service.  

Making a Social Difference – sponsored by CEIS 

Child Rights Coalition Asia, Terre des hommes and other partners with the University of Strathclyde’s Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures for developing the COVID 4P (Protection, Provision, Participation, Prevention) Log for Children’s Wellbeing in urgent response to the rapidly developing pandemic emergency and the adverse implications for children’s rights worldwide.  

Police Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University for several projects at the policing and public health intersection resulting in an increased focus by Police Scotland on responses to the mental health pathways and drug related deaths. 

Public Health Scotland, Scottish Government and University of Glasgow, for research into the low COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the African, Caribbean, and Black communities culminating in a film now being used as an educational tool to engage and connect communities and public bodies to influence policy to reduce health inequalities in Scotland.  

Making an Environmental Difference – sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland 

Baxters Food Group, and University of the West of Scotland for embedding waste and process management knowledge and expertise, helping reduce their environmental footprint, achieve best-in-class performance and support business growth.  

Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST), EcoSystems Technologies and Edinburgh Napier University’s Transforming Timber project for building the first mass engineered two-storey Scottish timber house – displayed at COP26 – and advancing the proof of concept for a new Scottish net zero manufacturing industry. 

The University of Edinburgh, The Arctic University of Norway, FH Burgenland, Technical University of Varna, Alicante University and business partner G-Force for their collaborative work on the CloudEARTHi project in developing, testing and commercialising a new business framework that supports start-up companies to embed net zero, circular principles into their business models. 

Multiparty Collaboration 

The Centre for Excellence in Bioprocessing 2.0 (CEB), partnership led by FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) and the University of Edinburgh. The partnership combines FDB industry insight and knowledge with world-leading research expertise from the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and York and industry-skills training from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) to perform innovative research and provide training to enable more efficient manufacture of biologics drugs and meet the future demands of complex biologics production for the treatment of life-changing diseases. 

The Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics (iCAIRD) comprising over 15 partners from across industry, the NHS and the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Aberdeen. With twin tracks in radiology and pathology, iCAIRD’s programme of work is establishing the infrastructure and environment required to support development, validation & deployment of AI technologies for use in healthcare. 

The University of the West of Scotland KTP Office, Advanced Clothing Solutions, Innovate UK, Scottish Enterprise, Belmos Electrical Services and Autopak Solutions, for delivering a sustainable solution that prolongs the life of garments, reduces their impact on the environment and transforming negative consumer perceptions on garment hygiene. 

Powerful Partnership 

Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) and Edinburgh Gin (Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd) have collaborated for 10 years, launching products and careers. The relationship has also opened new areas of investigation and has helped to further cement the reputation of the ICBD as a centre of excellence within distilling research and teaching. 

The University of Glasgow and National Nuclear Laboratory for pioneering research in the field of Muography, using natural radiation produced in the upper atmosphere to shed unique light on the contents of shielded nuclear waste containers.  

The University of the Highlands and Islands and the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) for immersive multimedia events with direct relevance to Brodie Castle and NTS wider strategic aims and objectives. The partnership has brought substantial benefits to the economy of the local area. 

The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2023 winners will be announced on Thursday, March 23 in Dundee. 

Interface connects businesses from all sectors to Scotland’s universities, research institutes and colleges.