A major Covid-19 testing facility and a camera in a pill for the early diagnosis of bowel cancer are among the eight winning collaborations in this year’s Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.

Now in their sixth year, the awards recognise developments achieved through partnerships between business, academia, public bodies and social enterprises. The programme is organised by Interface, the business-academic matching service.

“The judges were incredibly humbled and impressed by the innovation and creativity, exemplar partnerships and overall impacts of the applications across all eight categories,” Interface director Siobhan Jordan said.

READ MORE: Agenda: Helping companies to innovate in difficult times

“From responses to the Covid-19 crisis, to breakthrough technologies in health, circular economy and poultry genetics, the winners announced today are an impressive showcase of the incredible collaborative work which goes on every day in Scotland, and a celebration of the people behind the partnerships from all industry sectors and across all academic disciplines.

“They bring renewed admiration for knowledge sharing between businesses, social enterprises, public bodies such as the NHS, universities and colleges across Scotland.”

Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Interface is a free service that aims to stimulate demand for innovation. It works with companies across a range of sectors from the food and drink industry to financial services.

The full this of this year's winners:

Making a Difference

Scottish Leather Group (SLG Technology) and Edinburgh Napier University for the development of new high-value products and processes from waste and offcuts, as well as contributing to education and sustainable art.

Multiparty Collaboration

The Scottish Capsule Programme (SCOTCAP): Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, NHS National Services Scotland, NHS Highland, NHS Tayside, NHS Grampian, NHS Western Isles, Medtronic, Corporate Health International UK, Bowel Cancer Scotland, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Strathclyde. The collaboration was tasked to co-design, deliver and evaluate the use of a minimally invasive “Pillcam” containing a digital camera as a viable, safe, and cost-effective alternative to colonoscopy for early diagnostic testing for bowel cancer symptoms.

COVID-19 Collaborative Response

The Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow, hosted by University of Glasgow at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, established a major new Covid-19 testing facility with BioAscent and the University of Dundee. The facility was subsequently developed and managed by the University of Glasgow in collaboration with high-throughput industry experts BioClavis. One of the largest academic-run diagnostic facilities in the world, the laboratory recently reached the 10 million Covid-19 test milestone.

Powerful Partnership


Cobb Vantress, a global poultry genetics business, and the University of Edinburgh have worked together since 2013 across animal welfare, disease resistance, food security and preserving biodiversity to ensure a sustainable global poultry industry.

Innovator of the Future

Dr Jakub Rycerz, KTP Associate, from the University of the West of Scotland collaborated with Phoenix Instinct of Forres on the design and manufacturing of a smart, light-weight carbon fibre wheelchair frame integrating electronic systems to revolutionise mobility.

Knowledge Exchange Champion

Professor Malcolm Macdonald of the University of Strathclyde, has been instrumental in the development of Scotland’s space sector. His work as director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications from 2014 to 2020 supported the creation of 16 new companies, and his media work has promoted Scotland on the global stage. Professor Macdonald is leading the Space Technology Cluster as part of the Glasgow City Innovation District.

Knowledge Exchange Heroes

Dr Andrea Taylor, head of business development at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Taylor is passionate about Knowledge Exchange and a relentless champion of her team. Her drive and ambition have led a proactive industry engagement strategy delivering significant investment and nurturing new company formation.

Innovation of the Year 

Scotmas Group of Kelso and Robert Gordon University developed a new and innovative method of producing disinfectants without harmful by-products for use in hospitals, water supplies and food production applications.