Innovate and Collaborate with Support from Interface – the Knowledge Connection for Business

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.

As Scotland bids to become a global food tourism destination, Interface can help your business, whether in food and drink or tourism, become part of that success. Read on to find out how!

How can Interface assist the food and drink, tourism and creative industries sectors?

  • We 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, we 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.
  • We 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 sectors, in learning journeys, workshops and the sharing of expertise. Scotland has hundreds of academic experts and facilities useful to the Food & Drink Industry, from new product development and consumer research through to sustainability, waste management and engineering.

Several businesses and sectors including food and drink and tourism have benefited from collaboration with Interface. Find more examples on the Interface website.

Food and Drink

  • Highland Boundary

Highland Boundary is a craft distillery based in Alyth, near Blairgowrie founded by Marian Bruce and Simon Montador who identified a gap in the market for Scandinavian-inspired spirits with the botanicals sourced from local woodlands. The name comes from the geological feature, called the Highland Boundary Fault, on which their farm lies – they have one foot in the Highlands and one in the Lowlands of Scotland. By combining botanicals from the Highlands with grain spirit from the South the company are crafting a new generation of Scottish spirits firmly rooted in the Scottish Landscape. Find out more.

  • 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. Find out more.

  • 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. Find out more.

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 business opportunities toolkit for the area’s tourism businesses to use, and a business case study, both available at:

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. Find out more.

  • Tomintoul & Glenlivet Heritage Trust

Interface helped this community trust develop immersive Virtual Reality technology to bring local history to life and to tell new stories about whisky and the landscape. Find out more.

Collaborations with students and researchers from a university might provide helpful input. Academic input can help businesses, particularly SMEs, develop new innovative services and products, or increase their productivity or save them money. This guest blog by Dr Daniel Wade Clarke from the University of Dundee School of Business, offers some great examples across food, drink and tourism.

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

Businesses across Scotland face common and distinctive challenges. Our 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.

Got an idea but don’t know where to start? Contact our Sector Engagement team for more information or call for an informal chat: