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Bringing business and academia together

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Head of Research and Development (R&D) at Macphie Martin Ruck recently attended the Interface Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards in Edinburgh where he was part of a panel discussing the economic and social benefits of bringing academia and business together.

The event, now in its second year, aims to promote and celebrate knowledge exchange in Scotland and recognise achievements through commercial and academic partnerships. It’s also a showcase of how innovative businesses, universities, research institutes and individuals are spearheading economic growth as well as improvements for society.

Macphie is involved in around six collaborative research projects at any one time which helps reinforce its innovation credentials and drives business growth.

Martin explained: “Innovation is a cornerstone for Macphie, developing new technologies, products, processes and packaging to add value to our business and better meet our customer needs.

“Our R&D programme accesses external as well as internal ideas and capabilities. Using the cutting edge of universities through collaborations with academia, it translates into new commercial technologies and is a key part of our overall strategy.

“Macphie uses Interface as a Scottish brokering service that brings businesses and universities together and help in a series of collaborative projects across a range of business requirements with Scottish universities. Using the Interface network, we have managed to completely accelerate our innovation agenda.”

Macphie has enhanced the skills and knowledge of employees in areas such as project standards, testing procedures and technology. In addition, partnering with universities is part of Macphie’s long term R&D strategy. Martin’s advice to other businesses is to set out with a clear idea of what they want from the collaboration, how it might translate into the business and to be prepared to shop around to find the right partner.

He concluded: “At Macphie we now have a rich heritage of academic projects across many aspects of our business and these translate into shaping and driving our innovation agenda. Interface is a crucial partner in enabling us to pair up with the very best academic organisations to achieve success and we will continue to invest resources in long-term, transformation projects to ultimately add even greater value for our customers by introducing innovative new products.”