Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards success

Campus viewed from Rottenrow

Strathclyde scored a double success in this year’s Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.

Professor Malcolm Macdonald was named Knowledge Exchange Champion, while the University was part of an innovative project to develop a pill for early diagnosis of bowel cancer symptoms which won the Multiparty Collaboration award.

Professor Macdonald was recognised in the annual awards which celebrate business-academic knowledge exchange for his work bridging the gap between academia, industry, and government.  He is instrumental in the development of Scotland’s space sector and his work as Director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SoXSA) from 2014-2020 supported the creation of 16 new companies. His media work has also promoted Scotland on the global stage.

Professor Macdonald, who co-leads the Space Technology Cluster as part of the Glasgow City Innovation District, said:

I want to thank everyone I’ve worked with over the last decade, it’s their work and effort that has got me this prize, from my Strathclyde and SoXSA colleagues to my various great collaborators in industry.”

Multi-party collaboration

The University was also involved in the Scottish Capsule Programme (SCOTCAP) alongside the Strathclyde-hosted Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI), Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, NHS National Services Scotland, NHS Highland, NHS Tayside, NHS Grampian, NHS Western Isles, Medtronic plc, Corporate Health International UK Ltd, Bowel Cancer Scotland and the University of Aberdeen, which won Multiparty Collaboration.

The collaboration was tasked to co-design, deliver and evaluate the use of a minimally invasive ‘Pillcam’ containing a digital camera as a viable, safe, and cost-effective alternative to colonoscopy for early diagnostic testing for bowel cancer symptoms. 

The Strathclyde team gathered feedback from more than 200 patients who received the new screening service to understand what the experience was like from the patients’ point of view.

Amazing opportunity

Dr Marilyn Lennon, Reader in Digital Health and Wellness from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, was Principal Investigator for the patient experience and roll out evaluation for the programme with and for DHI.

She said: "This was an amazing opportunity to work in partnership with several health boards, commercial technology providers, and an innovation centre to evaluate the real world roll out for a pioneering new technology for colon capsule based endoscopy.

“Strathclyde played a crucial role in this important work capturing patient and professional acceptance of not just the new device but of the whole process from identifying barriers and facilitators to the adoption and implementation of the new screening technology at scale across the North of Scotland.”

Michelle Brogan, the SCOTCAP Project Lead, from DHI, said: “DHI was central in establishing and fostering this novel multi-partner collaboration which was a primary catalyst in driving forward a shared vision to improve patient outcomes and scale up new innovative approaches to community-based point of care diagnostics.

“The ‘pillcam’ technology and service model is now being rolled out across NHS Scotland and we believe this innovation will help significantly reduce waiting times for early cancer diagnostics.”

Other winners included Innovation of the Year, which was won by Scotmas Group in Kelso and Robert Gordon University for the development of a new and innovative method of producing disinfectants without harmful by-products for use in hospitals, water supplies and food production applications.

The Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow, hosted by University of Glasgow at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus a new COVID-19 testing facility established with BioAscent and the University of Dundee, won COVID-19 Collaborative Response.

Applications for the awards were sought from all Scottish universities, research institutes and colleges, as well as businesses and organisations, demonstrating research and development and innovation-led partnerships which have had a positive impact on the economy, society or the environment.

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, the business-academic matching service, which announced the winners said: “From responses to the COVID-19 crisis, to breakthrough technologies in health, circular economy and poultry genetics, the winners are an impressive showcase of the incredible collaborative work which goes on every day in Scotland, and a celebration of the people behind the partnerships from all industry sectors and across all academic disciplines.”