Innovate and Collaborate with Interface – the Knowledge Connection for Business

Posted in: Blog

Based regionally throughout Scotland, Interface works with businesses of all sizes, in all sectors, to match them to Scotland’s world-leading academic expertise for research and development.

Interface can facilitate small groups of businesses and academics working together to tackle industry sector challenges that can lead to transformational outcomes and impacts. By working together to accelerate innovation Interface can drive sustainable economic growth and help make Scotland a CAN DO place for business.

How can Interface assist the tourism sector?

  • They facilitate collaborative partnerships between all industry sectors, including tourism, food and drink and the creative industries; helping businesses work together on key industry challenges
  • With connections to thousands of academics across all disciplines; from science, engineering and technology to sales and marketing, they find quick solutions to many questions
  • No matter what sector you are in university facilities & equipment are available for you to test, create and develop new ideas.
  • They administer Scottish Funding Council Innovation Vouchers and can identify numerous funding opportunities to help offset the cost of your project
  • Interface can also help support the sharing and learning of expertise relevant to the tourism sector, in learning journeys, workshops and the sharing of expertise, such as the use of digital and immersive technologies to enhance the visitor experience, or by addressing challenges and opportunities for the sector in relation to the changing needs of visitors, such as dementia tourism.

Several tourism groups and businesses have benefited from collaboration with Interface, including Love Loch Lomond. Here are just some examples and case studies.

Food and Drink

Dunnet Bay Distillers

With support from a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, Dunnet Bay Distillers collaborated with Heriot-Watt University to generate recipe and process methodology for both a seaweed vodka and seaweed gin. They then proceeded to work with several universities on various projects partnered by Interface.  

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IQ Chocolates

Interface matched IQ Chocolates to Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen to get the nutritional knowledge to become Scotland’s first ‘bean to bar’ chocolate manufacturer.

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Highland Fine Cheeses

Looking to develop and launch a new product for the snack market, Tain based Highland Fine Cheeses approached Interface for expert industry guidance. Following an introduction by Interface to the University of Abertay, the company were able to carry out the necessary research. This successful partnership has resulted in the company being approached by a significant supermarket buyer.

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Food & Drink: Make Innovation Happen

Make Innovation Happen is a service which provides food and drink businesses in Scotland looking for information and support with a single, streamlined access route to help them innovate. This service includes support for both incremental and disruptive innovation and is open to all businesses across the supply chain from farm to fork. The Make Innovation Connectors include Interface, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise. Find more at:


Love Loch Lomond

As part of its Collaborating for Success project, funded by the Scottish Enterprise Destination Development Fund, Love Loch Lomond developed projects on destination data and potential new visitor markets, one of these the youth travel segment. Interface connected Love Loch Lomond with Marketing Works at the University of Strathclyde, the department enabling post-graduate students to work directly with industry as part of their studies. Two student groups researched the potential for youth travel in the area, in terms of products and services, and in terms of perceptions of the destination for a younger traveller segment. The research outcomes were translated into a Youth Travel Toolkit for the area’s tourism businesses to use, and a business case study.

Borders Journeys

When the tour company owner needed a clearer strategic vision for his company and, in particular, wanted to establish if there was a large enough market to merit him spending the majority of his time focusing on ancestral tourism, Interface put him in touch with Queen Margaret University, who embarked on a research project with him.

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Tomintoul & Glenlivet Heritage Trust

Interface helped this community trust use digital technology to bring local history to life.

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The Reindeer Company

The Reindeer Company Ltd and Inverness College UHI have come together in a collaborative project which has recently been granted a £5,000 Innovation Voucher. It will use cutting-edge tracking technology to enhance reindeer management and to enhance the experience of people visiting the reindeer herd in the Cairngorms as well as the online experience. The collaboration is in its early stages, so it is a case of “watch this space”.

Other innovative projects impacting on the tourism sector include the development of intelligent textiles, addressing efficiency and sustainability; and using virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance the visitor experience in tours and attractions. Get more ideas in recent blogs.

Got an idea but don’t know where to start?

Interface realise that tourism businesses across Scotland face common and distinctive challenges. Their free and impartial service has helped hundreds of organisations to create and improve products, streamline services and develop processes which have enabled them to increase profits, maximise export potential and ultimately become more sustainable.

Email for more information or call 07870 513 521 for an informal chat.