A Scottish cybersecurity start-up which created a world-first in online security has won the Innovation of the Year at the inaugural Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.
Payfont partnered with academics at Edinburgh Napier University to create a 100% secure cloud-based architecture which is already receiving international attention.
The technology, which is patent pending, fragments business and personal data and puts it out of context, even when it is “at rest”, rendering it meaningless to outsiders.
The judges noted the significant market opportunities and potential for this type of cyber security software highlighting the innovative approach of the product in a competitive, global market. They were also impressed by the amount of international interest in Payfont in particular from financial services and healthcare markets and that the company had created 14 jobs in a short space of time.
Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare, presented the award to Payfont alongside the winners in four further categories in the first national celebration of its kind marking successful business-academic partnerships.
The other winners were:
Building Skills Award – recognising postgraduate students or Knowledge Transfer Partnership [KTP] Associates who have worked within a business on a specific project to increase innovation within the company:
Laura Kreiling, a KTP Associate from University of Strathclyde, who undertook a 24-month long project to significantly improve engineering resource estimation at Alexander Dennis Ltd, the UK’s leading bus and coach manufacturer.
Sustained Partnership – for a partnership that has demonstrated long term benefits to both the business and the academic teams:
The partnership between Glasgow-based solar thermal business Soltropy and Heriot-Watt University, which started in 2013, has led to the development of a mass produced, easy to handle, modular solar thermal panel aimed at the UK and European markets.
Multi–Party Collaboration Award – recognising groups and consortia across all industry sectors that demonstrate innovation and impact through working together while also having a significant benefit for each individual party:
The judges were very impressed by the quality of applications from all entrants but felt that there were two distinct winners in this category.
Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (SMS-IC) led by University of Glasgow which capitalises on the significant investment made in Scotland in electronic health records and translational medicine research, which, coupled with a vibrant healthcare technology industry, positions Scotland as an ideal location to deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time through stratified medicine.
The second winner was University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) for its Low Carbon Power and Energy Programme, which generated projects worth £2.58m.
Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange Award, recognising an individual who has played a pivotal role in knowledge exchange in Scotland:
Professor Steve Beaumont has been an ambassador for knowledge exchange and enterprise throughout his career, which spans academic and business achievements.
Former Vice-Principal for Research & Enterprise at University of Glasgow, Professor Beaumont’s commitment to the enterprise agenda led to the foundation of Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd and Compound Semiconductor Technology Ltd.
He also created the Glasgow Knowledge Exchange Fund, which aims to encourage and facilitate knowledge exchange activities across the University of Glasgow.
After leaving the position of Vice-Principal in 2013, Steve continues to support world-leading collaborative research in intelligent sensor networks and systems and is the academic lead for CENSIS, the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems.
The judges noted Professor Beaumont’s outstanding track record and selflessness throughout his career in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.
Interface Director Siobhán Jordan, said:
“We are thrilled at the success of the first Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards – from the high number and calibre of entries to the diversity of innovative projects. The awards are proof that partnerships between business and organisations and academics right across Scotland are flourishing.”
Margaret Burgess also announced the launch of Interface’s new online platform, Specialist Facilities, which details a range of university facilities and equipment that is available for hire by businesses to support their commercial research and development activities.
Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said: “I’m delighted to launch Interface’s new online Specialist Facilities platform that will help companies across all sectors to create, develop, test and analyse their products and ideas.
“I would like to congratulate all the participants and winners who have been recognised for their innovative work at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards. This award ceremony recognises the successes of recent business and academic collaborations and acknowledges the ingenuity, industry and creativity that is vital to the success of knowledge transfer activities. These projects are crucial for sustainable economic growth, and essential for improving productivity, competitiveness and growth in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government is committed to investing in the development and application of research, innovation and technology and supporting entrepreneurial activity which all play an important part in shaping Scotland’s future.”