A new £1.6 million scheme is being piloted in the Highlands and Islands to encourage more collaboration between graduates, businesses and universities.
The Knowledge Exchange Placement Programme (KEPP) is designed to boost the amount of research and development activity in the region and help businesses grow.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has teamed up with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to run the programme. It will be piloted through HIE’s client base and used to encourage deeper knowledge exchange between the business, the graduate and a university.
There will be up to twelve projects in the pilot. Each can last up to 24 months, applying innovation in developing new or improved products, processes or services. These could include creating prototypes, piloting, testing and validating them in the work environment.
The graduate will have a key role in tapping into the knowledge and expertise of the university that can then be embedded into the business.
David Oxley, acting director of business and sector development at HIE, said: “In the Highlands and Islands we have many high growth businesses. Parallel to this is the growth in the university sector, which is essential to a successful region. KEPP will encourage business growth through innovation. It will give graduates a key role in strengthening the links between businesses and universities. And it will create new opportunities to retain and attract young people. We look forward to running the pilot to increase the knowledge exchange across the region.”
KEPP builds on the success of the current ScotGrad placement programme, led in the region by HIE.
It is supported by Interface, the service linking businesses with universities, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).