Innovation in Scotland – How Interface Support Companies Developing Climate Change Tech
This blog is by Gillian Hambley, Business Engagement Executive at Interface for Aberdeenshire. She discusses the Scottish companies innovating to tackle climate change. The type of technology emerging in the industry and how Interface support businesses in this space.
Interface connects many businesses with academics from across Scotland’s Universities and Colleges. We support collaborations that have a positive impact on environmental sustainability. In fact, 50% of projects brokered by Interface focus on helping businesses address climate change and promoting sustainable practices.
Climate change tech is a rapidly emerging industry. Companies develop data-driven products to enable communities, companies, and governments to understand their climate change risks. It also enforces them to take action to adapt and become resilient.
Moreover, the race between climate change and climate solutions has never been more urgent. By sharing our knowledge, we can find solutions faster.
In this blog, I share some insight into the work we do with climate technology companies in Scotland.
Climate Change Tech in Scotland
The north-east ecosystem strives to support green organisations to link in with the right people in universities and colleges to enable economic growth in the area. Our partners include Opportunity North East, ScotlandIS, The DataLab, CENSIS, Barclays EagleLabs, the OGTC, Skills Development Scotland, Elevator and Scottish Enterprise.
As a group, we host events to bring the community together to share ideas, make connections and stimulate research and development activity.
This March, we hosted a webinar on behalf of our north-east partners. The purpose of the webinar was to reach businesses thinking about linking in with academic expertise to solve environmental challenges. Other goals were to develop, create and test their products or services. We heard from Marc Strathie, Research and Policy Manager at ScotlandIS. ScotlandIS are the membership organisation for the digital technology industry. They are at the forefront of identifying tech trends in Scotland.
With climate tech being a key trend, ScotlandIS published a recent report, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise. The report showed that Scotland is playing a leading role in developing new technology that can alleviate global climate change challenges.
The report highlights the global opportunities for Scotland’s tech community to capitalise on climate technology needs across various sectors. Such sectors include the energy sector, the built environment, land-use and transport.
Climate Change Tech with Interface Support
An example of a company supported by Interface, tackling green transport and travel issues, is Pawprint. The eco-tech start-up is combining technology, behavioural science and carbon data in one app. Allowing people to measure, understand and reduce their carbon footprints or pawprints.
My colleague, Louise Arnold, helped the team access support from the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES Research Pool). She helped place a researcher with the company to analyse the most effective way to encourage meaningful, long-term changes in people’s behaviour with access to a live community of test users.
We’ve supported many companies in the quest to discover more environmentally sustainable materials. For instance, Algae Ltd partnered with Edinburgh Napier University on creating plant-based alternatives to plastic.
Meanwhile, McCormack Innovation Ltd joined forces with the University of Dundee. They developed soluble material for a variety of uses. (wound dressing and a flushable material for collecting stool samples)
In another webinar on the circular economy and climate change, academic and business experts offered ideas and inspiration in developing green solutions. One speaker with first-hand experience of academic collaboration was Michael Forbes. Michael is the Refurbishment Manager at Renewable Parts Ltd., which refurbishes wind turbines. He observed that, “there are very small companies doing really great things.”
Our Role in Climate Change
The majority of companies we work with are SMEs. They have proven that small is powerful when it comes to the planet’s most significant issues. Including meeting the Scottish Government’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Our role in matchmaking businesses to academic expertise helps to foster fruitful partnerships. With around 75% of which continue after the initial project undertaken.
With team members located across the country, we are supporting companies in all regions. Establishing what challenges they are seeking to solve and identifying relevant academic expertise. We can build strong relationships with the companies and support them with the right opportunities with universities and colleges by having people “on the ground”. These relationships may be partnering with students, researchers or professors, or accessing specialist facilities.
With worldwide attention focusing on Scotland during COP26 this November, there is no better time to highlight the incredible innovations to tackle climate emergencies. And bring business and academia together in the battle for this planet.