Heriot-Watt to Host Photonex Scotland

On 4th Wednesday June, Heriot-Watt will host Photonex Scotland – the Scottish leg of Photonex.

Photonex is the UK’s premier showcase event dedicated to photonics and light technologies and there is now the opportunity to visit the Roadshow is Scotland this year.

Appealing to scientists across both academia and industry, this event combines a programme of industry tutorials, a one-day conference on cutting edge developments in the use of light technologies in the life sciences, and a comprehensive supplier’s exhibition. Tutorials will feature on theory, advances, techniques, technology comparisons and features to look out for when choosing your equipment for your next project.

The event is free to attend however advanced registration is requested for the conference and exhibition. Please register to visit and receive more details via the website http://www.photonex.org/scotland.

How Does University Research Benefit You?

How Does University Research Benefit You?

Have you ever wondered exactly how the research that universities conduct benefits society?  This week we launched a new section of our website to publish our academics’ research with the aim of providing an answer to that question.

We have gathered together some examples of our most interesting and exciting research projects and rewritten them into more ‘reader friendly’ language to demonstrate the scope of the impact that Heriot-Watt research has.

In the coming weeks, the blog will focus on some of the projects individually, in the meantime, why not have a browse for yourself and see what you can find?

Low Carbon Futures

Last week the blog reported on an event Heriot-Watt co-hosted in Paris, that was partly funded using money form the universities’ Impact Acceleration Account. The university hosted an event earlier this year using this fund – Vicky Ingram, Researcher Development Coordinator explains –

The Urban Energy Research Group used the Impact Acceleration Account to hold an event to disseminate the research of the Low Carbon Futures project. Over three years, the team has researched building simulation, statistical modelling of climate information, overheating and cooling load analysis, combined with practitioner feedback on modes of communicating such analysis.


In September this year at Woburn House, London, the research team gave presentations to an audience of architects, academics, energy consultants, Local Authorities, charities, and national bodies. The presentations provided details the background of the LCF project, its’ main findings, and introduced the LCF tool, which provides a method for assessing the effect of the 2009 UK Climate Projections (UKCP09) on building modelling and design.


The attendees took part in a workshop, where they were asked to think about useful forms of output for demonstrating the risk of a building “failing” due to climate change, and how such output might provide guidance for action to be taken to prevent this.


The aim was to inform the professionals who would utilise the research findings and the output – generated by the LCF tool.  Using money from IAA allowed us to host the event in Central London providing us with an opportunity to directly engage with our core audience.


Feedback from the event suggested that a number of delegates were interested in working with the Urban Energy Research Group on future projects, and that the LCF tool was much sought after by the industry. 

For further details of IAA, please contact Dr. Ian Brotherston, i.d.brotherston@hw.ac.uk, ext. 3751.

Multiple Awards Success for Heriot-Watt

Last week proved very successful for the university with three awards being presented at two awards ceremonies.


From left to right: Dr. Iain McEwan (Business Development Executive, EPS), Ashley Baker (Macphie) and Prof. Albert Rodger (Scottish Funding Council). 

At the Interface Excellence Awards, hosted in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt won two of the three awards being presented.

Gillian McFadzean, Director of Research and Enterprise Services and Ashley Baker, Head of Research and Development at Macphie of Glenbervie received the Interface Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange Award. The judging panel came to the decision to appoint joint winners for this category, recognising both industry and academic contributions.

Macphie of Glenbervie also won the Interface Sustained Partnership Award for their long-standing and continued knowledge exchange partnership with Heriot-Watt.

The university narrowly missed out on a clean sweep of the awards with Dr. Will Shu’s 3D Bioprinter coming second to PAWsitively Natural  for the Interface Innovation of the Year Award.



Dr Keith Brown receives the University Electronics Department of the Year award from NMI CEO Derek Boyd and Raytheon’s Brooke Hoskins

Meanwhile, there was also success at Research Institute of Signals, Sensors and Systems won University Electronics Department of the Year at the NMI Electronic Systems Awards at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, London. 

The category seeks to highlight university electronics departments that best demonstrate excellent liaison & partnership with industry. Judges place a particular emphasis on world-class electronics systems research with a strength in depth and evidence of a strong skills and knowledge transfer record with industry that turns ideas into economic benefit.

The category is sponsored by Raytheon and was presented by the company’s Brooke Hoskins and NMI’s CEO, Derek Boyd.

Speaking at the event Derek Boyd, CEO of UK electronics trade organisation NMI, said: “The institute demonstrated world-class R&D in microsystems and system integration. It has built strong and trusted relationships with key electronics systems companies, with many collaborations and projects leading to commercial success.”

Bioengineering Team exhibits 3d Bioprinter at ICT 2013


L-R: Dirk Beernaert, Adviser to the Director General, Dr Will Shu, Robert Madelin, Director General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology for the European Commission, Matthew Wasley and Atabak Ghanizadeh Tabriz.

Last week Dr Will Shu, Matthew Wasley and Atabak Ghanizadeh Tabriz attended ICT 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Attended by over 5,000 people, ICT 2013 is Europe’s biggest digital technology conference featured a three-day exhibition of digital inspiration, creativity and connectivity. It is seen as the key event for the ICT theme in European funding.

The organisers of the event had invited Dr Will to exhibit the 3d bioprinter, with the trip being funded by SUPA (Scottish Universities Physics Alliance) with additional support from the department of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

The bioprinter generated a high degree of interest with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Visitors to the stand included heart surgeons, mechatronics experts and biologists, plus senior officials from the European Commission such as Robert Madelin, Director General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

Professor David Lane, SeeByte & The Pandora Project

Professor David Lane (Director, Ocean Systems Lab, Heriot-Watt University) founded SeeByte Ltd. with the aim of “Providing intelligent systems for manufacturers and operators of robotic vehicles”.

The company spun-out from Heriot-Watt in 2001 and went on to achieve a position of leadership in the development of smart software. In early October, SeeByte was bought by US producer of autonomous underwater vehicles, Bluefin Robotics. This  will enhance Bluefin’s offering in relation to a suite of products for remotely-operated and unmanned surface and underwater vehicles.

The Pandora Project

Recently David secured a three year EU project involving Heriot-Watt and four other partner universities from around Europe (Kings College London, The Italian Institute of Technology, The University of Girona and The National Technical University of Athens) as well as an advisory group from the oil and gas industry. The aim of the project was to develop next-generation autonomous vehicle technology for subsea inspection and maintenance. Specifically, robots better equipped to recognise failure and deal with unexpected situations in their’ environment.

You can learn more about the project from the video below.

If you are interested in utilising the expertise of our academic staff or you would like to learn more about consultancy services available through Heriot-Watt, please contact us and we will work with you to tailor a consultancy programme that meets your requirements. Please contact Iain McEwan, Business Development Executive at I.McEwan@hw.ac.uk.


Efficient and Cost-effective Rail Maintenance

Professor Peter Woodward has a PhD in the field of numerical geotechnics from the University of Manchester. He joined Heriot-Watt University in 1994 as a lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering and in 2010 was promoted to Professor of Railway Technical Engineering. During his PhD he worked for WS Atkins in the field of earthquake engineering, analysis and design.

Prof. Woodward has been seconded to industry for 1 day per week working on the application of polyurethane geocomposites to railway track stabilisation and reinforcement – XiTrack. This patented technology was spun-out from Heriot-Watt University and is now widely used across the UK railways and increasingly internationally.

 Balfour Beatty were investigating ways of reducing both the cost of maintenance and the amount of maintenance required when they became of Peter’s work with XiTrack. Through Balfour Beatty’s knowledge of what was required and how it may be applied to make the product and the idea work on an operating railway. Use of this system led to a three time increase in the speed of deployment of repairs.

Learn more about this innovation and its’ application in the video below.

If you are interested in learning more about consultancy services available through Heriot-Watt, please contact us and we will work with you to tailor a consultancy programme that meets your requirements please contact Iain McEwan, Business Development Executive at I.McEwan@hw.ac.uk.

HWU Spinout equips CMAC Centre

BBC News – Cash boost for Glasgow-based drug research project



Converge project has made a major contribution to the Scottish economy

A reception at Edinburgh Castle last night [05.03.2013] marked the official end of a programme that pioneered a distinctive approach to industry engagement and is now widely acknowledged as a model of best practice within the Scottish university sector.

End of Converge Event in Edinburgh

End of Converge Event in Edinburgh

The Converge project – funded by the European Regional Development Fund – was initiated in 2009 to create a world-leading resource for the University to forge links with industry; exchange knowledge; develop businesses and create jobs in Scotland.

A key aim of the project was to develop long term relationships with partners in industry and to specifically address their individual needs. The Heriot-Watt Business Development team acted as a first port of call – an interface between the companies and the University’s research teams.

Through Converge the University has worked on collaborative projects with companies of varying sizes, from micro companies through to large multinationals in a diverse spectrum of sectors, from high value manufacturing to energy and food and drink. The Engineering Design placements exemplify the approach. They are small, company-led research and design projects that companies give to students to manage. Last year’s programme saw 95 students working on 19 separate projects for 17 different companies including MacPhie of Glenbervie, MacTaggart Scott and STATS Group. The value of these projects has been recognised by oilfield service giant, Baker Hughes, which this year sponsored awards for participating students.

The ERDF funding was used to hire staff who undertook four main areas of activity: Entrepreneurship; Business Development; Marketing and Enterprise Creation through university spin-outs and the successful Converge Challenge, now Scotland’s largest university start-up competition. The results have been impressive:

  • The total collaborative value of the project is £8million and it has supported 250 enterprises and the creation      of 30 new products
  • 25 new companies have been created in just over 3 years, raising a total of £1.2m investment
  • Businesses helped by Converge expect to increase their turnover by £14.1 million and attribute £5.1 million of this increase directly to the University’s business development team
  • These businesses expect to create an extra 146 jobs over the next 3 years
  • If activity supported by the Converge project is sustained, then the project is expected to contribute an additional £36.6m GVA per year to the Scottish economy
Professor Alan Miller, Deputy Principal, Research and Enterprise Services speech

Professor Alan Miller, Deputy Principal, Research and Enterprise Services speech

Speaking at the launch, Professor Alan Miller, Deputy Principal, Research and Enterprise Services said:

“These collaborations have been truly symbiotic. For our partners they have led to new products, services, increased turnover and new jobs. Heriot-Watt has enjoyed publishable results, the opportunity to contribute research expertise; new licenses and long-term collaborative opportunities for academics. We wanted to create a world-leading resource for Heriot-Watt to be able to quickly and effectively respond to enquiries from industry. I think we can safely say – mission accomplished.”

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