Whatever their size, businesses are facing a number of challenges in today’s world. And it’s very rare that they are offered expertise, resources and equipment with no additional cost to the business.
However, that is exactly what is happening in and around Dundee thanks to The Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher scheme, a Scotland-wide initiative that unlocks funding, supported by the University of Dundee.
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As part of the voucher scheme – which has already helped businesses launch products to market – small to medium businesses are offered access to expertise, researchers, facilities and equipment at the university in a bid to help them achieve a number of business goals.
Do you run a business? And do you have a challenge?
Or are you looking to develop new products or innovate in any way including testing products/prototypes,? If so, the University of Dundee wants to hear from you by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since February 2020, Dr Moray Newlands, has been the Associate Dean of Industrial Engagement in the School of Science and Engineering, charged with engaging with regional businesses in a wide range of industries ever since. But it’s only in the last six-to-nine months that he has been able to meet those in the business community face-to-face.
Dr Newlands, who is the Associate Dean of Industrial Engagement in the university, also works closely with the university’s Research and Innovation Services, so knows first-hand the importance of innovation.
He said: “Innovation is fundamental to what a university should be doing – we are here to teach students and progress education, but to enable us to do that, innovation is at the heart of that. Engaging more with industry is also important for our teaching side as well.
“Our students are not just doing an engineering degree, but they are seeing what’s happening on the research front and over the horizon, so they are ready for industry when they graduate.
“It builds good links with industry.”
Benefits to your business
With a background in applied research, Dr Newlands attributes many benefits to Innovation Vouchers, which the university and the business jointly apply for to access funds. If you and your business receive funding, you will:
- Be able to conduct feasibility testing and proof of concept studies
- Gain help in the development of a new product or service
- Enhance your workplace processes and practices
- Have access to skills
- Be able to tap into the capabilities and expertise of university staff
- Be able to expand your network, regionally, nationally and globally
- With expertise in a wide range of disciplines and fields, the university is calling for businessowners from all types of industry to come forward.
How one business launched a product – with the university’s help
Case study: Tayside Contracts, Dundee
When asked about the University’s track record with innovation success, Dr Newlands has the perfect answer – “all about how the university helped one Dundee-based company get ‘on the road’ to success.”
“Tayside Contracts came to us with a low carbon project for the footpaths and highways in Dundee,” he explained.
“They had a new low carbon, cold mix highway material, but they didn’t have the resource or lab facilities to conduct development work. There was a real problem that they wanted to solve.
“The firm had a small lab and were trying to make the road-base material. They didn’t have the experience of looking at the challenge from a research angle, where they wanted to be and how to get there. They didn’t have the resources or the lab facilities to do the development work, but they did have the experience in the field.
The university had the research and development expertise, and the facilities, so we developed the product for them, tested it, put it down on various roads and helped them put it out to market.”
The road surface material is now on the footpaths, roads and on the A90 (near Longforgan) today!
If it were not for the university’s support and guidance, this product may not have launched.
How can I apply to get university expertise to help my business?
The university wants to extend its reach to the regional business community and also wants to innovate. If you run a small to medium business, or are a sole trader, in any sector or industry, the University of Dundee wants to help you to develop/create a solution, so email them today: email@example.com
How can I benefit from specialist expertise?
You can apply for a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher to help boost your business. The innovation voucher funds collaborative projects up to the value of £5,000 for Standard Vouchers, or up to £20,000 of funding for Advanced Innovation Vouchers.
1. Apply to sign up:
Accessing an Innovation Voucher is a straightforward process. Talk to Research and Innovation Services at the University of Dundee by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org The team will advise you on how to collaborate with the university and help you find academic expertise to match your project needs.
2. Attend an event:
Regional businesses are invited to explore these opportunities at the University’s next ‘Innovation Conversation’ event at the V&A on Tuesday 29th November. Make sure you book your place. At this event, the Regional Innovation team will explain what Innovation Vouchers are and how to apply.
You will also hear first-hand from the Managing Director of Fife-based firm McCormack Innovation, Brian McCormack*.
*Brian McCormack is a former coal miner-turned-inventor who benefited from an Innovation Voucher through the University of Dundee several years ago and has since gone on to achieve a number of world-wide successes.
To attend the Innovation Conversation on Tuesday 29th November, click here to book, and to contact the University for more information about advancing your business, email the innovation team at: email@example.com