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The finalists for the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2018 have been revealed, reflecting an impressive diversity of business-academic collaborations involving 13 universities in Scotland.

Heriot-Watt has two finalists, in the Social and Environmental Impact and the Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange categories.

The Social and Environmental Impact award is for a collaborative business-academic project that has produced significant social or environmental impacts contributing towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future.

Our finalist is Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (Tain), pioneered by The Glenmorangie Company in partnership with Heriot-Watt University and the Marine Conservation Society, aims to restore native European oysters to the Dornoch Firth to enhance biodiversity and, together with an anaerobic digestion plant, purify the by-products from the distillation process – an environmental first for a distillery.

The Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange category recognises an individual who has played a pivotal role in knowledge exchange in Scotland, and the finalist is Dr Annie Hill, Associate Professor, International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, Heriot-Watt University. As founding Vice-Chair of the member-based Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA), Dr Hill has supported numerous new businesses as they enter the industry.

It's fantastic to have such deserving finalists who reflect our reputation as a leader in knowledge exchange

Dr Grant Sellar, Business Development Executive

Dr Grant Sellar, from the Business and Enterprise team, said: “It's fantastic to have such deserving finalists who reflect our reputation as a leader in knowledge exchange and the benefit of sharing of expertise, ideas and evidence between businesses and universities."

The awards, run by Interface, recognise, reward and celebrate impacts achieved through collaborative business and academic partnerships.

One of the judges, Dr Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at The Scottish Funding Council, said: “The calibre of entries to this year’s awards was very impressive – as was the diversity. From collaborations involving small businesses to our national health service, today’s shortlist reveals an exciting range of business-academic partnerships. The Scottish Funding Council is delighted to see universities and innovation centres playing such a strong role in the successes of Scotland’s businesses and public sector.”

The awards ceremony will be a celebration of business-academic partnerships at Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh, on Thursday, 22 February. The afternoon’s programme includes a diverse range of speakers from business, academic and knowledge exchange.