The three shortlisted people in the Knowledge Exchange Heroes (individual) category - Dr Marieke Hoeve, The University of Edinburgh; Ellen Pauley, University of Dundee; and Michelle Skotzen, Edinburgh College.

Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2024 Finalists Revealed

(Image: The three shortlisted people in the Knowledge Exchange Heroes (individual) category – Dr Marieke Hoeve, The University of Edinburgh; Ellen Pauley, University of Dundee; and Michelle Skotzen, Edinburgh College)

The people and partnerships behind ground-breaking innovations are being celebrated this month (February 2024) with the unveiling of the shortlist for the 2024 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.

Organised by business-academic matchmaking organisation Interface, the Awards celebrate successful partnerships at the cutting-edge of research and development, from local micro-businesses to globally significant discoveries, partnering with universities, colleges and research institutes to change lives in Scotland and beyond.

Now in it’s 9th year, the Awards ceremony will take place at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow on 14th March, when the winners will be presented with awards in seven categories.

The finalists are:

Innovation of the Year – sponsored by HGF Ltd

The Bettii Pod Ltd, and West College Scotland for collaborating on the design and development of Bettii, a menstrual cup washer and sanitiser which can be installed in away-from-home cubicles. The product’s purpose is to support sustainable menstrual practices, offer an eco-friendly menstrual choice, address period poverty by improving access to sanitation facilities, and mitigate health concerns related to inadequate washing facilities.

Green Cross Medico Ltd, and Edinburgh Napier University for developing a new innovate medical product. The thermal vasodilatory device is designed to improve Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) treatment outcomes, increase patient mobility, minimise leg amputations and deliver cost savings to the NHS.

Prozymi Biolabs Ltd, and The University of Edinburgh for developing a pipeline for identification and characterisation of novel gluten-degrading enzymes using mass spectrometry. These enzymes can be used for production of tasty and affordable wheat-based gluten-free bread, providing a realistic alternative for people with gluten intolerance.

Innovator of the Future

Dr Maria Martinez Castillero, KTP Associate working with The University of Edinburgh and Beta Bugs Ltd, for improving Black Soldier Fly genetic performance, as a high-quality protein source for livestock, through developing, testing and implementing the key data infrastructure and workflow for the Beat Bugs breeding programme, ensuring that genetic progress could be measured and tracked.

Dr Irene Mazzei, KTP Associate working with Edinburgh Napier University and Stoane Lighting, for improving the company’s environmental impact quantification, allowing a Life Cycle Assessment strategy to be created. In addition, Irene haspromoted the use of Life Cycle Assessment and other sustainability topics for the lighting industry.

Knowledge Exchange Champion – sponsored by PraxisAuril

Professor Eyad Elyan is a renowned researcher in Machine Learning and AI and leads Robert Gordon University’s Interactive Machine Vision research Group. He has pioneered the development of AI-driven solutions across different domains and helped businesses to intelligently transform existing practices.

Professor Sir Michael Ferguson for his continuous commitment to highly impactful Knowledge Exchange from Scotland’s life sciences research base spanning over 18 years. His achievements include forming the University of Dundee’s unique translational Drug Discovery Unit, supporting at least eight successful spin-out companies and championing the creation of a Life Sciences Innovation District in Dundee.

Deborah Keogh is the first ever Knowledge Exchange Manager at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Deborah’s leadership has turbo-charged KE at the Conservatoire and promoted it as an energetic, creative, innovative and critical element of their work. Deborah’s collaborations with other Higher Education Institutions and micro businesses have changed the landscape of KE support for the creative industries.

Knowledge Exchange Heroes

Due to the high quality and number of applications received this year the category has been split into two, with awards to recognise individual and team knowledge exchange heroes.


Dr Marieke Hoeve, The University of Edinburgh, for delivering a unique Masters by Research programme in regenerative medicine that offers training and placements in academic and industrial/third sector organisations, propelling the careers of postgraduates and contributing to a skilled workforce in this fast-growing life sciences sector that faces a critical scarcity of specialised professionals that urgently needs addressing to bring advanced therapies to clinic.

Ellen Pauley, Innovation Co-ordinator at University of Dundee, for continually developing and delivering initiatives that have significantly increased interest, engagement, and funding of Knowledge Exchange with regional businesses, through creative thinking, a professional attitude and exceptional customer service.

Michelle Skotzen, Edinburgh College, for being an Innovation Champion for the college sector, collaborating cross college and the sector to provide solutions for businesses and promoting the support colleges can offer to adopt and diffuse innovation. Working within the college’s Business Development team, Michelle has co-ordinated the development of a comprehensive innovation portfolio in the space of just 18 months.


The North of Scotland KTP Centre Team cultivates a truly collaborative approach to maximising the reach and impact of the Innovate UK-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, supporting the development and delivery of transformative innovation with demonstrable benefits for all project participants and their wider stakeholder groups across the region, Scotland, and the whole UK.

One Ocean Hub’s Early Career Researchers (ECRs) Team at University of Strathclyde are an international and multidisciplinary team working on the ground-breaking and innovative approaches towards achieving the goal of inclusive and equitable ocean governance, whereby the people and the environment can flourish using expertise spanning environmental and human rights law, marine biology social sciences, environmental humanities, arts and history, to name but a few.

The Wellcome iTPA Team operates an embedded human health and wellbeing innovation accelerator programme at The University of Edinburgh. Innovative, agile and operating at scale, the team has supported over 1,000 early career researchers and established the first, largest and most engaged community of over 1,300 researchers. The team has supported over 180 projects with £1.8M in direct funding and returned £12.2M in further funding, a 600% return on investment.

Making a Social Difference – sponsored by Community Enterprise In Scotland (CEIS)

West College Scotland and The Bettii Pod Ltd for collaborating on the design and development of a menstrual cup washer and sanitiser which can be installed in away-from-home cubicles. The product’s purpose is to support sustainable menstrual practices, offer an eco-friendly menstrual choice, address period poverty by improving access to sanitation facilities, and mitigate health concerns related to inadequate washing facilities.

A joint venture between University of the West of Scotland and Kibble Education & Care Centre focuses on the development of a self-harm and suicide detection and health monitoring system for young people who have high-risk emotional and behavioural challenges that would otherwise require constant supervision from highly trained staff.

Scottish Ballet and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) for Elevate, a dance programme for people with Multiple sclerosis (MS). It aims to positively impact on the wellbeing of participant dancers through offering a range of non-pharmacological tools and strategies that support self-management of symptoms commonly associated with MS. Collaboration and co-creation with research partner the RCS has been key in design and delivery and further development.

Making an Environmental Difference – sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland

Anderson Bell & Christie Architects and the University of Strathclyde collaborating on a Zero Carbon Neighbourhood Toolkit that provides a data-driven, evidence-based method for designing both individual buildings and entire neighbourhoods. The toolkit supports local authorities, housing associations and developers in site appraisals, selecting the right location in regard to net zero targets, improving biodiversity, community health and well-being by place-based carbon reduction and sequestration solutions.

Fido Tech Ltd and University of the West of Scotland, working with and a Knowledge Transfer Partner to use AI technology to reduce water utility costs, lowering carbon emissions and helping reduce water scarcity and water poverty across the globe.

The Flow Country Partnership, working with University of the Highlands & Islands Environmental Research Institute, have the collective aims of re-evaluating the blanket bog peatlands of the Flow Country and ensuring through individual and collective action that outcomes related to climate change mitigation, natural capital, sustainability and biodiversity conservation are optimised. It also seeks to ensure that the social and economic benefits arising from appropriate and effective management of this globally significant natural are optimised.

Multiparty Collaboration

The University of Dundee’s Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) is a collaboration with three global pharmaceutical companies. DSTT has accelerated its partner companies’ drug programmes, and has also anchored Dundee’s investments from the Medical Research Council, and spawned a profitable reagents / specialist services business for global academic and industry R&D.

The University of Aberdeen’s Scottish Medical Education Research Consortium, Trickle and NHS Lothian for developing a ground-breaking wellbeing app entitled How Was Your Day? This innovative tool, backed by research working synergistically with leading edge technology, provides a uniquely tailored solution to employee engagement, enabling the transformation of workplace wellbeing, and enhancing the daily experiences for users.

Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE), a collaboration between University of the Highlands and Islands and multiple partners in the public and private sector, has created, through the rigorous and technology-agnostic evaluation of low-carbon technologies, a blueprint for the commercialisation of green regional aircraft operations, providing increased resilience for communities and businesses in remote and rural locations. 

The winners will be announced at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow on 14 March.

Join the conversation on X at #ScotKEAwards and LinkedIn @Interface – The knowledge connection for business.

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