Interface – helping companies access academic expertise

Sarah Burns General News

Our Scottish space incubator programme is located within Tontine, a tech accelerator hub created by Glasgow City Council.  One of the reasons that Tontine is a great place to host the programme is that it houses a vibrant technology and start-up environment with amples of support and access to other economic agencies like Business Gateway, Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise and Interface.

We’ve spoken to Ruth Oliver who is the Interface representative about her time in Tontine and supporting the Scottish space incubator programme.


“I’ve been based in Tontine for three years now, working with businesses of all sizes, in all sectors, to match them to Scotland’s world-leading academic expertise to help them grow. Co-locating with the Scottish Space Incubator has been a privileged and an education, working with some of the most interesting and promising start-ups in the country.

One of the Incubator companies I’ve supported is Hypervine. I initially helped them engage with Professor Bill Buchanan at Edinburgh Napier University to develop their construction management software using distributed ledger technology. This project was funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, which is a great option for a first time collaboration with a university.  Since then, they’ve gone on to attract funding from the European Space Agency to develop a purpose built system for the mining industry. Other companies in the incubator have engaged with universities to access a range of expertise. Nudge Exchange, for example, worked with academics at Robert Gordon with expertise in machine learning and smart contracts. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in Scottish universities to tap into for companies working with space technology; with cutting edge research being undertaken in Scotland in remote sensing technologies, artificial intelligence, blockchain, data science and cybersecurity, they’re an ideal partner for start-ups working with space technology.

For many of the companies we work with, it is their first engagement with an academic team for collaborative research and development – we can help companies understand the process and make the connections you need to turn your ideas into reality.

Interface administers the SFC Innovation voucher scheme, which is ideal for first-time collaborations with a university or college. We can also help navigate the wide range of funding available to support working with academia, for example from Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, or research councils.  Our free and impartial service is available to all companies interested in collaborating with academia, and I would be delighted to speak with any companies interested in hearing more over a virtual cup of coffee.”

You can reach Ruth and find out more about Interface via email: