The Knowledge Connection for Business


Established in 2005, Interface - The knowledge connection for business is a central hub connecting organisations from a wide variety of national and international industries to Scotland's 23 higher education and research institutes.

Scotland’s business support landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years, and in response to the creation of Innovation Scotland, which aims to simplify businesses experience of working with academia while also encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, Interface can now provide a wider range of services for those businesses looking to access academic support.

These include; bespoke, one to one projects; collaborative projects where groups of businesses and academics look to solve industry wide challenges; access to cutting edge and cost effective facilities and existing technologies and  advice on innovation related funding streams – most notably the Innovation Voucher Programme.

As part of Innovation Scotland, and to support the development and success of the new and emerging Innovation Centres, Interface have created a specific Sector Team who will be able to provide guidance and cohesion for those businesses with specific industry needs. 

Interface Food and Drink (IFD), for example, was established in 2011 as a five year project designed specifically to support the Scottish food and drink industry by connecting it to the wealth of academic expertise available in Scotland’s universities.

In order to stimulate and satisfy industry demand for knowledge exchange, and to deliver greater impact, a key focus for IFD will be the creation of larger scale collaborative projects with significant private sector commitment via common interest groups. Common Interest Groups unite a number of organisations and look to solve particular business issues or to identify and achieve common goals – for more information visit

To further support the food and drink industry Interface is also a partner in the Campden BRI led consortium delivering the Food and Health Innovation Service funded by Scottish Enterprise. This allows us to bring Scotland's world class expertise to help businesses harness exciting new market opportunities.

Key Facts

Now in its tenth year of the project, Interface has introduced over 1793 businesses to academic partners and its success story is reflected in the following:

  • 2751 enquiry search specifications have been forwarded to academic partners
  • 1054 company and university collaborative projects initiated
  • 197 companies in discussions or at stage of negotiation with universities
  • 74% of companies who have initiated projects have not previously worked with that academic partner
  • 89% of enquiries are from Scottish SME’s
  • 13% of enquiries are from the rest of the UK & International organisations


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