The University Innovation Fund (UIF) was introduced to support and encourage greater collaboration to maximise knowledge exchange and make the best use of University research, knowledge and talent to drive growth of the Scottish economy and equip Scotland’s people with the tools and skills needed to innovate. design and adoption of innovative new approaches to exploiting the research base that will lead to significant positive impact on Scotland’s economic performance.
UIF is an outcome-based approach to knowledge exchange incentivising and supporting Scottish universities to design and adopt innovative approaches to exploiting the research base, creating societal and economic impacts and underpinning delivery of the Scottish Government’s economic strategy for inclusive economic growth. Led by the Research & Commercialisation Directors Group (RCDG, a subgroup of Universities Scotland Research & Knowledge Exchange Committee) the programme of collaborative activities involves all 19 Scottish HEIs and provide leadership and support to deliver the seven UIF national outcomes and build stronger partnerships with the wider stakeholders including enterprise agencies, Scottish Government, Innovation Centres, Research Institutes, Industry Leadership Groups and Interface. Specific aspects to the role include leadership in developing a framework for evaluation the impact of the UIF outcome approach at a national level (input to SFC’s review of UIF in 2019-20) and leveraging investment to ensure successful delivery of collaborative activities including:
– Demand led challenge workshops targeting ISCF challenge areas and building on Scottish strengths
– SME demand stimulation (partnership working across innovation support landscape in Scotland)
– Demand Stimulation in Multi-national companies & the “Team Scotland“ Approach
– Creating a network of Enterprise Hubs across Scotland (East, West, Tayside, Aberdeen & Highlands)
– Provision of Training to enhance researcher skills for business engagement
– Inclusive growth and social impact opportunities: sharing good practice to capitalise on City Deals