Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards go virtual

Published: 14 December 2020

The 2021 ceremony will be expanded and move online

Now in its sixth year, the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, which celebrate the exceptional work achieved through academic and business partnerships, are now open for applications.

Hosted by Interface, the business-academic matchmaker in Scotland, the awards ceremony will be held virtually on World Creativity & Innovation Day, 21 April 2021.

Two new categories have been unveiled – one to showcase the incredible business-academic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a second to shine the spotlight on an individual or team behind the scenes who have been pivotal in forging impactful business-academic partnerships.

Applications are being invited in eight categories, the largest number yet, from businesses, public sector organisations, third sector, universities, research institutes and colleges which are leading the way towards economic growth, societal improvements and environmental advances in Scotland and beyond.

The categories are

  • Innovation of the Year: awarded to an innovative product, process or service that has been developed during the past five years.
  • Powerful Partnership: for an academic-business collaboration that has demonstrated long-term strategic partnering and benefits to both the business and the academic teams achieved through knowledge exchange.
  • Multiparty Collaboration: open to groups of three or more parties working together on an innovative research project; the group must include research partners from academia and at least one business.
  • Knowledge Exchange Champion: recognising an individual in academia (university, college, research institute), business or support organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to knowledge exchange.
  • Making a Difference: celebrating collaborative projects which have achieved significant social or environmental impacts that ultimately contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future.
  • Innovator of the Future: open to Knowledge Transfer Partnership associates, further education and higher education students or postgraduate students who have been hosted or sponsored by a business based in Scotland for a minimum of three months for a specific project that has increased the skills of the individual associate or student, as well as increased innovation within the company.
  • Knowledge Exchange Heroes: recognising an individual or team behind the scenes in an academic research & innovation or research enterprise office who has/have played a pivotal role in assisting knowledge exchange projects between business and academic partnerships.
  • COVID-19 Collaboration Response: this award is given for an innovative product, process or service that has been developed in response to COVID-19 in conjunction with a university, research institute or college partner. Applications should demonstrate how the business-academic partnership has been fundamental in rising to the 'national mission' in the battle against coronavirus and the ongoing economic recovery, helping to 'build back better'.

The winners will be chosen by a specially selected virtual judging panel who will be looking for collaborations which show innovation, impact (societal or economic) and transformation, along with recognising the people contributing to knowledge exchange.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday, 12 February 2021. 

If you are interested in submitting an entry to the awards then Research & Innovation Services can help you with your submission. Contact Louise Mitchell,

First published: 14 December 2020