University Innovation Team Highlighted for Best Practice in Industry/Academia Collaborations


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The Cyber Academy research team at Edinburgh Napier have been profiled for their innovation work in an article written by Siobhán Jordan from Interface in The Scotsman [here]. Overall the team have a special focus on innovation and in collaborating with SMEs to fully implement their vision.

The project highlighted is BrightRed Publishing, and who have continued to collaborate with university team on a number of projects. Along with being involved in a range of innovative projects, including two successful spin-outs (jnc Zonefox), The Cyber Academy team aims to implement their ideas with the latest in Cloud-based architectures, and in developing a stimulating learning environment.

Prof Bill Buchanan outlines "Seldom have I been so proud to be involved with such an amazing project. It gave us an opportunity to implement some of our ideas in pedagogy, and then in the opportunity to work with a company with real vision.

Collaboration works best when both sides contribute, and both sides learn from each other. Our pride is also that we have helped to create something that brings great benefit to our most important assets - our next generation.

Education is what we love, and we really feel that this project gives us the opportuntity to contribute to every level of education in Scotland."


Bright Red Publishing is a multi-award winning independent publishing company which develops and produces high quality study guides for the new National 4, National 5, Curriculum for Excellence Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications. They collaborated with Edinburgh Napier University to create a unique on-line Digital Zone to support students and teachers during a time of immense educational change in Scotland.

The company, wanting to produce the very best resources for Scottish students, was looking to support their publishing plans with on-line support across a number of subjects. Although the company had the expertise to create and tailor the very best possible content, they did not have the experience to develop the digital strategy required to fully capitalise on the work they had done.

Bright Red Publishing approached Business Gateway, who referred them on to Interface. After working with Bright Red to develop their initial brief, we put out an enquiry, searching through all of Scotland’s universities to find the right expertise. Reviewing the resulting proposals from the universities, Bright Red felt that Edinburgh Napier University had the extensive expertise and support to get their digital project off the ground. The collaboration was supported by a £5,000 Innovation Voucher.

The original aim of the project was to create a prototype interactive testing system to support the new qualifications introduced in Scottish schools in 2013. The project achieved this and much more besides.

Building on the success of their original collaboration, Bright Red Publishing and Edinburgh Napier University applied for, and received a Follow-On Innovation Voucher for £20k, which the company matched in cash. This allowed the success of the first project to be broadened out to include a wider range of subjects, creating innovative web-based materials to reinforce textbook learning.

Since The Digital Zone went live almost two years ago, more than 25,000 Scottish students have registered and feedback from both students and teachers has been excellent.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Associated people

William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
+44 131 455 2759