Interface works with businesses of all sizes, in all sectors, to match them to Scotland’s world-leading academic expertise.Building collaborations all the time.
The Interface strategy aims to stimulate demand for knowledge exchange between industry and universities and research institutions through creating sustained partnerships, proactive marketing, stakeholder engagement and infrastructure management including research into long term sustainability options.

The actors have come together by mutual consent to provide a central point of access for companies to tap into expertise across a wide breadth of disciplines from science, engineering and technology to arts and humanities.

Interface facilitates triple helix clusters to tackle industry sector
challenges that leads to transformational outcomes and
impacts. By working together to accelerate entrepreneurship
and innovation, Interface drives sustainable economic
growth and helps to make Highlands and Islands region a CAN DO place for business.

Resources needed

Funding for the service is provided by Scottish Funding Council, European Regional Development Fund and Highland and Islands Enterprise. Currently, the service is financed through public sources.

Evidence of success

Business supported by Interface contribute £64.2 million gross value added (GVA) a year the Scottish economy, supporting around 1,060 Scottish jobs. Since 2005: • Interface has introduced over 2,700 businesses to academic partners. • Over 1,700 company & university collaborative projects initiated.
• 33 clusters addressing key growth sector challenges.• 83% of businesses recorded reduced operating costs,increased productivity, profits, export, turnover and new or safeguarded employment.

Difficulties encountered

Some collaborations have been challenging due to personalities involved, and also some business actors cannot change from a thinking of competition. Also not all innovations or findings work out the way it was initially anticipated.

Potential for learning or transfer

For each £1 invested in Interface to date it has generated £6.33 GVA for the Scottish economy; and the average cost/job supported by Interface has been £9,566. This means that the return on investment generated by Interface, which is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, with contributions from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is already on a level with that delivered by comparable UK wide programmes designed to achieve similar objectives.

Companies have experienced transformational effects on their business as a result of their interaction with Interface. In particular, many reported that the collaboration had been a catalyst for deep and long lasting relationships which has resulted in improved business competitiveness.

Main institution
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Start Date
January 2006
End Date


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