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Heriot-Watt Partnership to Help Boost Economic Recovery in Scotland

David Paul


Heriot-Watt partnership

The collaboration between the university and Filament PD will combine product design and scale-up knowledge as part of a new economic strategy.

Heriot-Watt University has announced a partnership with product development agency Filament PD on a strategy to work on economic recovery in Scotland post-Covid-19.

The University’s Global Research Innovation and Discovery (GRID) facility will combine its entrepreneurial talent with Filament PD’s experience to help scale businesses capable of competing at a global level.

With a focus on open-ended, multidisciplinary education and support, the partnership expects to drive investment, improve route-to-market for new technologies and boost Scotland’s international reputation for design.

The partnership will also run programmes designed to upskill students, boosting job opportunities, and sparking future entrepreneurship.

The £19 million GRID facility, based at Heriot-Watt University, will be used to advance global research, innovation, and discovery as part of the project. GRID aims to “bring together world-leading talent and the brightest minds to tackle current industry challenges”.

In contrast, Filament PD provides a link between graduates, customers and its wide network of industry associates that want to “find and retain the best talent.”

Paul Devlin, Head of Commercialisation at Heriot-Watt University, said: “Scotland has a proud history of invention, coupled with a prosperous startup culture.

“Our partnership with Filament PD will connect people, ideas and skills in order to develop commercial products that not only compete but lead the market. This underpins the value we place on our students working on real-world problems, collaborating across disciplines to deliver practical solutions with global impact, as well as our academics and existing industry partnerships.

“Collaboration and the sharing of expertise generates stronger opportunities for R&D funding and, by working together, we can support high calibre, industry-ready graduates while securing investment to help grow and scale successful businesses.”


Gregor Aikman, co-founder and managing director of Filament PD, said: “By collaborating in this way, we can ensure we have the collective skills and knowledge to develop, and most importantly retain, intellectual property in Scotland – ultimately driving domestic employment, revenue and exports. In the current climate, this is even more important as restrictions tighten once again.

“By working with the network of students, academics, start-ups and scale-ups at GRID to progress ideas right through to product delivery, we can improve speed-to-market, therefore winning valuable commercial advantage over global competitors and boosting Scotland’s success and reputation further.

“GRID has a unique mix of disciplines which includes computer game modelling, engineering and electronics. As a world leader in academic and entrepreneurial excellence, GRID features the latest in technological innovation, and we were particularly drawn to its augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities.”

Last month, the University launched its Prospectus for Recovery and Growth, illustrating its commitment to “supporting the global recovery efforts” after the coronavirus pandemic.

Heriot-Watt says the Prospectus “places collaboration, partnership and accelerating commercialisation at the heart of its approach”.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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