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Students help shape future of industry with support from innovation centres.

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A new initiative has launched in Glasgow to enable final year university students to tackle
some of the major challenges facing the economy and society.

The programme comes as innovation centres across Scotland call for a more innovative and
smarter approach to utilising technology to harness the power of data available within
industry.

It is believed that embracing data will play a key role in growing the economy and supporting
various sectors for the foreseeable future. Recognising this, the ‘Smart Project’ sees three of
Scotland’s innovation centres working alongside the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) to
tap into the knowledge and expertise of students as they undertake their final year research.
Selected students will base their dissertations on designing concepts and solutions to
strategic challenges, as outlined by innovation centres CENSIS, The Data Lab and the
Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI). SIE will work alongside academics and students to
provide ongoing startup supervision to assist them in developing concepts throughout their
final year.

The programme hopes that by bringing together talented students with the existing
entrepreneurial ecosystem which exists in Scotland, that innovation centres will be able to
maximise the impact of research undertaken within higher education institutes, ensuring it
has impactful on real issues facing society and has a purpose outside of academia.
Additionally, through creating stronger links between innovation centres and the cohort of
students, the programme aims to create a pipeline of entrepreneurial talent from universities;
experienced and ready to work within the sectors of the innovation centres.

The first project in Glasgow took ‘Innovation and the Home’ as its main theme. Challenges
explored themes around smart care in the home, living well, community wellbeing, the use of
data capture and dissemination, and sustainability and construction. More than 40
handpicked students from universities across Glasgow took part in the exercise. Following
the event, students will be given guidance on the next steps on how to carry out further
research on their chosen topics by experts at SIE and the innovation centres.

Commenting, Fiona Godsman, Chief Executive of programme organisers, Scottish Institute
for Enterprise, said:

“Students tend to focus on their final year purely to attain a qualification before going out into
the world to find a job, without ever actually considering the commercial implications of their
work. The majority of dissertations, although thoroughly researched and considered, end up
forgotten about.

“We want to harness that hard work and research, and encourage students to take an
innovative approach to solving some of society’s biggest problems as part of their final year.
By working with Scotland’s innovation centres, students from across the country can glean
industry expertise and support throughout their final year and potentially create something
which could significantly impact wider society.”

The Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS) is one of the
three innovation centres involved in the new initiative. CENSIS assists companies or
organisations of any size to address industry, product and market challenges by bringing
together experts from across universities with in-house engineering and project management
teams.

Stephen Milne, Business Development Manager at CENSIS, added:

“Students provide the backbone of our future economy and have the ability to create
amazing concepts for practical application. The new Smart project allows us to engage with
students at an early stage, giving them the experience and support to recognise their
concepts as viable businesses.

“Advising them on the most important future innovation trends can help to ensure their
research is aligning with industry themes. In doing this, and with the support of SIE, they’re
equipping themselves with the skills and mindset necessary to launch and manage a product
or company.”

Smart Project workshops will also take place in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen over the
course of 2017, and interested participants and higher education institutions are encouraged
to get in touch to take part.

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