Creating a CAN-DO nation with the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards

Interface has launched the third Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, which take place on 22 February 2018, and a key theme embedded within the event is the celebration of diversity within business-academic collaborations. The speakers, innovation sessions, exhibitors and award winners will showcase the diverse nature of the companies and organisations that Interface support across sectors, regions and gender.

Supporting gender equality is embedded in Interface’s business engagement activities, promotion, policy work and support of knowledge sharing between businesses and academia – and it’s a long-term objective.

Our focus mirrors that of the Scottish Government’s three themes - equality, social inclusion and environmental sustainability – and that of the Scottish Funding Council Gender Action Plan, which helps to remove gender stereotyping of roles through education.

We support women in our work every day by taking the time to understand their businesses and the challenges they are facing. We help match them with the right academic expertise in Scotland's universities and research institutions and by forging these partnerships, we help their businesses to grow and develop.

In fact, two of the categories in last year’s Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, were awarded to women – the Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange and Building Skills through Knowledge Exchange awards – both women making an impact in different ways on the world of business-academic collaboration.

The collaborations Interface fosters have wider impacts too, on the economy and on society by assisting businesses in developing innovative products, services and processes across all industry sectors.

Through our administration of Scottish Funding Council Innovation Vouchers, we know that 1 in 3 company applicants are women which compares well when benchmarked against similar schemes, where the equivalent statistic is 1 in 7 applications. (That's not to say that there are not women in key positions in the other businesses which apply for this type of funding, however it is a good indicator.) On the other side of the partnership, 31% of collaborative projects we facilitate are led by women academics.

We promote real people running real businesses, such as Karen Knowles re-launching Bon Accord Soft Drinks with the help of Abertay University; Alison Grieve of G-Hold who worked with the University of the West of Scotland to validate the ergonomic benefits of her handhold invention, and farmer Julie Hermitage who worked with Dr Lisa McIntyre from the School of Textiles and Design at Heriot-Watt University when she diversified into luxury wool products.

Interface will continue to promote equality, social inclusion and environmental sustainability so join us at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2018 on the 22nd February where you will be inspired by our range of speakers, stories of collaboration journeys and our awards ceremony! You can register here to attend .

Look forward to seeing you in February.

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