Patience and perseverance – these are the key drivers of a vibrant knowledge ecosystem, according to Scottish Funding Council Board Member Professor Lesley Yellowlees who spoke these powerful words at the 2020 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards Ceremony on 27th February.

At the National Centre for Universities and Business, we see just how much hard work a successful partnership requires. As an organisation that promotes, develops and supports university-business collaboration, we recognise the importance of celebrating these successes, as we have done in the past in our State of the Relationship reports, which explore and celebrate achievements made when universities and business come together.

We were therefore delighted to attend the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards in Edinburgh to celebrate the achievements of innovation-led partnerships between Scottish universities, research institutes and colleges, as well as businesses and organisations. Now in their fifth year, the Awards are organised annually by Interface, which matches businesses to Scotland’s world-leading academics to develop and research new products, services and processes.

It was a particularly exciting event this year for NCUB, with our Policy Lead for Skills Sarah Cowan having been on the panel to judge the Multiparty Collaboration category. Huge congratulations to the team involved in the nEUROSTRESSPEP project, who took home the award. Led by NCUB Member University of Glasgow, this €7m multiparty collaboration brings together seven universities across Europe and South Africa, six agricultural technology governmental agencies and three highly innovative companies to champion a revolution in the creation of novel next-generation green insecticides.

Other winners of the night included HAS Technology Ltd and Edinburgh Napier University, who won Innovation of the Year for their collaboration on ARMED (Advanced Risk Modelling for Early Detection) – wearable technology to predict the risk of people falling. The Making a Difference category award was presented to Glasgow charity Baltic Street Adventure Playground (BSAP) and the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School who are working together to develop a community food hub in Dalmarnock – demonstrating social and environmental impacts in an area of high deprivation. The Spotlight Award went to Enable Scotland, University of Strathclyde Business School, Scottish Power and Marriott Hotel for a pioneering programme which enables young people with learning disabilities to achieve an accredited qualification and gain work experience with two of Scotland’s largest employers.

Inspiring individuals were also recognised throughout the evening, including joint winners for Knowledge Exchange Champion of the Year Professor Marian Wiercigroch from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Engineering, and Professor David Flyn from Heriot-Watt University’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as well as Innovator of the Future category winner Connor Blair from the University of Glasgow, who is undertaking an Industrial Placement PhD with Portage Glasgow Ltd.

You can read more about the awards and the award recipients on Interface’s website.

Photo: All winners of the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards on stage.