ScotGrad - Highlands and Islands

Knowledge Exchange Placement Programme

In the Highlands and Islands, ScotGrad delivers the Knowledge Exchange Placement Programme (KEPP) on behalf of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The programme is funded by HIE, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The aim of a KEPP is to create a strong tripartite partnership between the graduate, the SME and an appropriate Scottish University to undertake a high-level research and development placement project.  The graduate will be pivotal in drawing down the knowledge and expertise of the University thereby facilitating knowledge transfer which will be embedded in to the SME and support its growth aspirations. The duration of each KEPP can be up to 24-months however every project needs to be completed by the 31st December 2018.

The types of R&D projects that will be supported through the KEPP are what are known as ‘experimental development’.  Experimental development projects aim to acquire, combine, shape and use existing scientific, technological, business and other knowledge and skills with the aim of developing new or improved products, processes or services.  This may include creating prototypes, piloting, testing and validation of new or improved products, processes or services in the usual work environment.  However it does not include routine or periodic changes required to be made to existing products, manufacturing and services that need to be improved as part of due course.

The graduate will require to have at least a 2:1 honours but preferably a Masters and be employed by the SME. They must also work 100% of their time on the agreed project and not be involved in day-to-day operations.

Funding is available for eligible projects.


Who is it for? 

The programme is available to SME's that are account managed by HIE and preferably those who have successfully undertaken a Graduate Placement previously. HIE operates account management to build close relationships with hundreds of SME's across the Highlands and Islands. Account managed clients have the ambition and potential to trade outwith the region and achieve high growth, or to deliver significant benefits within a fragile area.

If you are not currently account managed by HIE but are interested in working with us, please contact your local HIE area team.  



For more information please contact the ScotGrad team at 



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