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Scottish Innovative Student Award (SISA)

What is it?

SISA is a skills development programme run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) in partnership with four of Scotland’s Innovation Centres; the Digital Health and Care Institute, the Data Lab, CENSIS, and the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. It has been designed to help students develop their ability to innovate and to give them the confidence to think and act as future change makers.

Each level of the programme will help students identify key milestones in their development and demonstrate their capacity for innovative thinking to future employers. Other benefits from taking part in the programme include inspiration for future course work projects or validation for the students’ own start-up ideas!

Why participate?

The businesses of the future require employees and entrepreneurs to have innovation and enterprise skills such as creativity, problem solving and the ability to communicate well.
Participating in SISA will enhance a student’s ability to stand out in the graduate recruitment market, and develop future-ready skills that will open up new career opportunities. They will learn how they can embrace the opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as innovative employees or as future entrepreneurs.

SISA provides an opportunity for students to:

  • recognise the innovation skills they have developed within the curriculum (SISA Level 1)
  • build on these skills and apply them to societal challenges in multidisciplinary teams (SISA Level 2)
  • demonstrate an intent to innovate and take action (SISA Level 3).

SISA Level 1: Future Thinkers

This is delivered within the curriculum by SIE or by course lecturers. Your lecturer will tell you if your course is eligible. Students must apply online for their Level 1 certificate, and demonstrate their understanding by answering the question ‘What new thing did you learn and how does that relate to the future and to your future?’

[Registration for SISA Level 1 has closed for Academic Year 2019-20]

SISA Level 2: Innovation Catalysts

Open to students who have already achieved a SISA Level 1 certificate and are interested in new ideas and making them happen. Successful applicants will participate a one-day face-to-face or online workshop (dates for Academic Year 2020-21 to be confirmed) that will allow them to enhance and develop their innovation competencies by working in multidisciplinary teams on a topical social and economic challenge.

Last year’s challenge, The Future of our Resources, was inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Scottish Government was one of the first to sign up to the goals in 2015, and in 2018 it issued the National Performance Framework as a blueprint for implementing these goals at national and local levels. You can find more information on the SDGs here.

The SDGs recognise that ending poverty and deprivation must go hand in hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Therefore, by taking part in SISA Level 2 workshop, you and your fellow students will have the opportunity to play an important role in the implementation of these goals. You will act as catalysts for change to develop new ideas that have the potential to ensure that no one is left behind as the UN and Scottish Government work to secure their vision of a sustainable future for all.

The SISA Level 2 workshops dates and method of delivery for Academic Year 2020-21 will soon be confirmed. 

Apply here to participate in Level 2

Level 3: Innovation Champions

For this advanced level, students must complete an online worksheet demonstrating their ability to apply the innovation process to their own project, which may be curricular or extra-curricular.
Successful applicants will receive recognition as an Innovation Champion and will be able to access support tailored to their needs in order to advance their idea, such as:

  • Access to unique opportunities including invitations to relevant events
  • Introductions to industry contacts
  • Specialist advice on your project from SIE and Innovation Centres business advice, etc.

(Online applications for SISA Level 3 will open in November 2020).

Summary of 2017-18 Programme: