A partnership between Abertay University and a Fife fruit and vegetable wholesaler has enjoyed double success at a prestigious awards ceremony.
Malcolm Wood, who said he had a ‘eureka moment’ in the middle of the night, picked up the coveted Innovation of the Year award at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2017.
Malcolm worked with Abertay University to develop his idea after business-academic matchmakers, Interface, connected the two.
New legislation preventing fast food outlets from disposing of food and starch waste in public drains prompted Malcolm, of Ivan Wood and Sons of Ballingry, to come up with an affordable, compact starch filtration system, PeelTech.
The judges noted the significant innovation behind the product in meeting environmental and regulatory needs, while demonstrating a clear commercial opportunity in the UK and overseas.
Meanwhile, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate from Abertay University, who worked with Ivan Wood & Sons to improve the PeelTech filtration system, triumphed in the Building Skills through Knowledge Exchange category.
Lee-Anne McGee redesigned and validated the filtration system, reducing waste materials and generating sales within the UK and Europe.
Lee-Anne implemented a Food Quality Management System, which resulted in significant cost savings to both the company wages and packaging. She also impressed the judges by developing a high-quality vegetable stock from the recovered starch to be sold as a new product to the food service industry.
Another Abertay related project was shortlisted in the Innovation of the Year category – relaunching the iconic Scottish soft drinks brand Bon Accord.
An academic team supported the famous company through new product development, consumer research and nutritional labelling to create a new range of naturally sweetened soft drinks.
The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, held in Edinburgh, celebrated projects and partnerships that are created by Scottish higher education and research institutions.
Dr Jon Wilkin, of Abertay’s Division of Food and Drink, was delighted with the successes.
He said, ‘I'm very pleased that we won the “Innovation of the year” for our project with Ivan Wood and Sons. This shows how collaborations between industry and academia can pay off for both parties.
‘We also did not expect to win the second award, with Lee-Anne McGee, former KTP Associate working on this project. It just shows the hard work and determination of all parties and how our collaborations can really drive change within the company. We look forward to working with them going forward. They certainly are one to watch in the future.’
Interface Director, Siobhán Jordan, said, ‘We have had some truly inspirational individuals and collaborations celebrated at today’s awards ceremony. The day has been a fantastic showcase of what can be achieved when business and academia come together.
‘The standard of entries was incredibly high and the judges had some tough decisions to make. Each of the finalists really demonstrated how collaborations can boost innovation, drive company growth to support the economy and position Scotland as a “can do” nation.’
Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said, ‘I would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners who have been recognised for their outstanding work at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.
‘These are truly innovative projects between our businesses and academia from all disciplines and are crucial for improving productivity and creating sustainable economic growth, whilst playing a vital role in shaping Scotland’s future.’