Universities and Business: Strengthening the Partnership

Scotland generates the most university- based research within the UK as a whole, demonstrating the strength of the university sector. However, the NCUB’s final Task Force report published in 2016, highlights that spending by business in this area is still significantly lower than across the rest of the UK. Scotland’s universities must continue to develop innovative ways to provide the optimum environment to transform and work in partnership with businesses, creating more jobs and contributing to economic growth. 

What more can be done to harness the partnership between universities and business to ensure Scotland’s international reputation in world-class research and higher education is maintained and enhanced?



Join this Holyrood event to gain an up to date briefing on the latest policy developments impacting research and innovation in universities and businesses. This event will offer the opportunity to explore the latest measures and recommendations to help strengthen the partnership between universities and business as well as examples of good practice of effective collaboration.

Key issues to be addressed:

  • The latest policy priorities and developments in research and innovation
  • Different models, opportunities and options for exploring innovation and enterprise
  • Examples of good practice that can help Scotland's universities and industry to lead in creating sustainable innovation and sustainability.


09:15 Registration and morning refreshments

09:55 Welcome and introduction by the Chair

Willy Roe CBE, Chair, British Council Scotland Advisory Committee

Session 1: Update on Legislation and Policy

  • An update on Scottish Government policy and the latest measures
  • Maximising the impact of research, innovation and funding
  • Recommendations for Scotland’s future innovation

10:00 Academic-business collaboration: Making it happen

The presentation will outline the key factors in creating the right environment for successful academic-business collaborations. Through impactful case studies, Siobhán will share her knowledge of co-creating academic –business collaborations as facilitated by Interface over the past 12 years. 

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director, Interface

10.25 Key Intellectual Property Issues in Research and Innovation

  • Who owns the Intellectual Property?
  • What use or commercial exploitation of the Intellectual Property can be made?
  • Academics need to publish versus protection of valuable Intellectual Property 

Robert Buchan, Partner, Brodies

10.40 Questions and discussion

11:00 Refreshments and networking

Session 2: Panel discussion: Exploring Innovation and Enterprise

  • Encouraging and facilitating increased knowledge exchange activity between universities and industry
  • Simplifying and enhancing the partnership process for SME’s
  • Promoting regional and sectoral collaboration
  • What role can enterprise agencies, business networks and universities play in encouraging business innovation and research?
  • Implications of Brexit for securing research funding

11:30 Business-minded: Building different futures

  • Universities are demonstrating a Can Do attitude on business engagement and strengthening partnerships.
  • All roads lead to talent.
  • How we can make the most of opportunities for regional and sectoral collaborations.

Professor Andrea Nolan OBE, Convener of Universities Scotland, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University

11.40 Stimulating and Supporting Industry & University R&D Partnerships​

  • Breadth of industry partnerships
  • One size and approach does not fit all
  • Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration​

Dr Ian Brotherston, Knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme Manager, Innovate UK

11.50 Gillian Docherty, CEO, The Data Lab

12.00 Building a Stronger Economy with Scotland's Small Businesses

Donna Chisholm, Regional Head of Sectors, Innovation and Programmes, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

12.10 Questions and Discussion

12:50 Lunch and Networking

Session 3: Good Practice and Case Studies

  • Creating sustainable innovation and inward investment
  • Industry led innovation; an example of good practice
  • Trusting Scotland’s entrepreneurship to boost the economy

13:30 Space to Innovate

Lucy-Rose Walker, Chief Entrepreneuring Officer (CEO), Entrepreneurial Spark

13.50 Enhanced Phase-Change Material for Heat-Storage Applications

Andrew Bissel, CEO, Sunamp Ltd, and Professor Colin Pulham, Professor of High-Pressure Chemistry and Head of School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh

14.10 Questions

14.40 Discussion: What does the future of innovation partnerships need to look like in order to ensure effective, focussed, and sustainable economic growth?

15:00 Close of event

 * Agenda subject to change


Venue and costs

Event location: The Law Society, Atria One, 144 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EX

Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

Event information:

For more information please email enquiries@holyrood.com or phone 0131 285 1635

31 May 2017

Booking URL: 

Register to attend this event

31 May 2017
United Kingdom



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