Sowing The Seed of Innovation: Interface Online Funding Leads to State-of-the-art Research and Large-scale Impact


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A long-term collaboration between the Edinburgh Napier University and Bright Red Publishing has now progressed from innovation funding to a state-of-the-art new research grant (supported by Scottish Enterprise).

Along the way, Internet Online has support the collaboration, , along with using it as an exemplar in the ways that business and academia can work together.

In a meeting at Interface Online's offices at Potterrow, Edinburgh, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP and Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, outlined:

"This partnership is a clear example of the application of research from our world-class universities in the development of new products and processes, helping companies innovate and grow."

Success and Impact

Since its launch in 2013, the Digital Zone has had more than 60,000 users registered and over one million online tests have been taken preparing students for their official exams. Feedback from both students and teachers has been excellent.

In April 2017, Bright Red Publishing secured a Scottish Enterprise innovation grant of £83,351 towards the overall project costs of £128,000 for a feasibility study, which will create a new gaming environment in the Digital Zone, Game of Active Learning (GoAL).

Supporting our next generation

Prof Bill Buchanan outlines:

"There are few things more important than the education of our next generation of scientists, engineers and business leaders. This project is part of a long-term collaboration between the university and the company. Overall it is a unique opportunity for us to apply machine learning into an educational environment, and thus to identify patterns of learning, especially focusing on identifying educational weaknesses. Our key focus is to match the learning environment to the pupil, and thus to provide an environment in which studying can be fun and challenging."

Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said:

“I’m delighted that the Minister has been able to see what can be achieved from collaborations between Scottish universities and businesses and the impact these can have on people’s lives. This is a great example of how Bright Red Publishing and the academic team, led by Professor Bill Buchanan, both bring knowledge and skills to enable new product development benefiting teachers and students as they study for exams.”

John MacPherson, Director of Bright Red Publishing, said:

“Working with Interface has been a brilliant experience for Bright Red Publishing and through the team we have been able to access world leading expertise from Edinburgh Napier University to really step up our digital plans. The creation of the Digital Zone has proved a game changer for our business and paved the way to many exciting new developments, such as the GoAL project.”

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Associated people

William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
+44 131 455 2759
Owen Lo
Research Fellow
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Computing Education
Computing Education shares many of the same challenges of general education but it also has a few unique challenges which the researchers in this area are exploring through a range of funded projects and collaborative national and international projects.