Research by the University of St Andrews could help in disease diagnosis

New research led by the University of St Andrews could hold the key to the diagnosis of the early stages of various diseases and lead to new drug discoveries.

The research, published in Nature Communications, has developed an innovative new way to hold samples using sound whilst they are gently imaged using light. The ability to hold and image objects will have a profound impact across biomedical sciences, especially those focused on disease identification, neuroscience and developmental biology.

 

Professor Kishan Dholakia from the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy said: ” This is a new way to perform drug-based studies for cardiovascular disease and developmental biology.  We anticipate this approach can also be used for high throughput drug discovery, an important topic for future healthcare.”

 

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Project to revitalise River Leven communities secures investment

A project to revitalise the River Leven in Fife has secured more than £300,00 in funding.

 

One of the first initiatives of The Leven Catchment Project has been awarded £25,000 from Sustans Scotland’s Community Links scheme and £65,000 from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) Water Environment Fund.

 

The funding from Sustrans and SEPA will finance feasibility and scoping work, which started last month, for the ‘Connectivity Project’ – one of a series of projects designed to help deliver a wider vision for the region which focuses on a 5km stretch of the River Leven at Levenmouth.

 

Plans include developing a series of paths to connect the isolated communities along the river and unlocking opportunities on vacant and derelict land in the area.

 

“The River Leven catchment in Mid-Fife was historically home to several hundred mills and factories, with a proud population of miners and workers in manufacturing industries,” explained SEPA water specialist Pauline Silverman.

 

“There are now significant challenges in the area and the river has become a barrier between communities, disconnecting people and towns from each other.  The purpose of the Leven Catchment Project is to achieve environmental improvements to spark new ways of working with key partners and communities to create social and economic opportunities.”

 

Key partners in the project with SEPA are Fife Council, the Forth Rivers Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Fife College and Scottish Water.

 

Visit the SEPA website for more information about the project.

Fife packaging firm plans £1.1m investments

Fife-based packing group, Pitreavie, has revealed ambitious plans to invest £1.1 million this year, including on a new office complex and expanded warehouse at the company’s Glenrothes head office.

 

Founded in 2010 by two friends, Pitreavie has rapidly grown from a Fife-based two-man operation into a national supplier with over 100 employees and an annual turnover of more than £13 million.

 

Last month it acquired Aberdeen-based Leiper Associated Packing, taking the number of businesses it owns in the city to three, and in 2018, it acquired a company in Worcester, its first acquisition south of the border, opening up new markets across the Midlands and beyond.

 

Its plans for Fife include the development of a packaging Centre of Excellence where customers can learn about new products and how best to package and transport their goods.  This new development is expected to be open in September.

 

Gordon Delaney, Group Commercial Director said: “Last year, we announced a large investment of £650,000 and spoke of our future plans.  These plans are now coming to fruition and we are thrilled our growth strategy is ahead of schedule allowing us to use expert knowledge in more locations, helping more customers.”

 

Visit the company’s website for the full story.

Fife Fintech Academy to expand after successful pilot

The pilot of a new initiative to address potential skills gaps in Scotland’s fintech community has been hailed a success.

A trial course, run jointly by Dunfermline payment specialist Renovite Technologies and Fife College, took place last month.

 

Around 15 participants with varying levels of experience, from trainees through to seasoned software developers, took part in the course designed to provide a solid foundation in retail card payments which could then be applied diectly to a work environment.

 

The course was the first to be run since Scotland’s first Fintech Academy was launched in Fife last September.  The Academy,  which is supported by a consortium of fintech companies, including Renovite and Dunfermline-base software firm Ingenico, Fife Council, Fife College and FinTech Scotland, aims to provide a steady flow of highly qualified applications for specialist fintech roles in the region to avoid a skills gap developing.

 

Jim Tomaney, Chief Operating Officer at Renovite Technologies said:

 

“It’s fantastic to see the fintech and education community coming together to promote STEM skills development and pre-empt the potential for a skills gap emerging.  I hope organisations and individuals with an interest in working in the sector continue to support and take part in the initiative and help build on its success.”

 

Following the success of the pilot course, a programme of further courses will now be rolled out – contact Fife College for more information.

Fife payment business to showcase wares on international trade mission

Payment specialist Renovite Technologies has been selected to showcase its payments technology to Swiss and Austrian financial firms.

 

The Dunfermline business has been selected by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and Scottish Development International (SDI) to take part in a fintech trade mission to Vienna and Zurich later this month.

 

Taking place from January 23-24, the mission aims to stimulate business between the UK delegation and financial institutions in Switzerland and Austria.  Renovite and a select group of other Fintech companies will be meeting with banks, venture capitalists and other organisations with an interest in fintech and innovation.

 

Previous fintech missions to Switzerland led by the DIT have subsequently generated £45 million in business deals.

 

Jim Tomaney, chief operating officer at Renovite Technologies said:

 

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a delegate for the mission and look forward to showcasing how our work is enabling positive change using state-of-the-art cloud technology.

 

“It’s really a very positive sign that major financial organisations are now rising to the challenges and demands of an increasingly complex payments environment by looking to businesses that can offer the kind of agility and innovation they can’t source from traditional suppliers.”

 

Renovite Technologies, which also has offices in California and New Delhi, established its European headquarters in Dunfermline in 2017.  The UK team has grown from four to 20 since then and plans to add another ten employees – including six trainees – by the end of 2019.

 

Click for more information about the trade mission.

 

 

 

Briggs Marine Turnover up by 17%

Briggs Marine and Environmental Services is reporting a 17% increase in turnover.

 

The Burntisland-based company, which supplies a range of services throughout the marine industry, has just published its new accounts for the year ending March 2018 at Companies House, showing an annual turnover of £58 million, 17% more than the previous year.

 

Collieson Briggs, Managing Director of the Briggs Group, said: “The marketplace remains challenging, but the company has delivered a profitable performance in the year to March 2018, and in the short to medium term, I expect the company to continue delivering improved operational performance in the year 2018/19.  It is great to see that across the whole group, we continue to be successful in winning new contracts, as this further develops our presence and reputation in the marine services industry.”

 

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University of St Andrews strikes new European deal

The University of St Andrews has signed a partnership agreement with one of Europe’s leading universities.

 

The University is to expand its existing cooperation with the University of Bonn under an agreement that provides for new and far-reaching collaborations in research, study and administration.

 

The two universities have agreed to provide increased exchange opportunities for students, academic staff and professional and administrative staff.

 

Staff and students from St Andrews will be given the opportunity to research, teach and study at Bonn, and vice-versa.  The agreement also provides for the establishment of joint study and research programmes and work shadowing offers for administrative staff.  Both universities also intend to develop joint research and teaching activities.

 

University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Mapstone, said: “We are delighted to have signed a wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Bonn, which sets out our commitment to deepening our partnership in the years to come and, very importantly, will see a continual exchange of people and ideas between our two institutions, and between Scotland and Europe.”

 

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Fife businesses gear up for Southern Manufacturing

Manufacturing businesses from across Fife are preparing to attend the Southern Manufacturing and Electronics show, at Farnborough International in February.

 

The UK’s largest regional manufacturing technology, electronics and subcontracting exhibition has proved fruitful in recent years for Fife-based businesses, winning contracts and making new contacts.

 

Southern Manufacturing will celebrate its 21st show in 2019, where around 800 exhibitors and thousands of visitors are expected to attend the three-day event (5–7 February 2019).

 

Attending from Fife will be Contract Solutions Precision Engineering, AGS Electronics, Fife Fabrications, Reel Service and Eurospray. I4 Product Design will also take part in the visit as a means of supporting collaboration and supply chain links with Fife businesses.

 

This is Eurospray’s first time attending Southern Manufacturing. The Glenrothes-based business, Scotland’s largest sub-contract paint finishing facility, intends to use this exhibition as a platform for showcasing its leading-edge finishes to new contacts.

 

Jim Fairnie, Managing Director of Eurospray, said:

“This is our first time attending Southern Manufacturing, but we’re doing so to   showcase our paint finishing expertise to a wide range of sectors and industries.

“We anticipate that the event  will be an effective means of business development, as we will have the opportunity to network, meet new businesses, which in turn we hope will lead to new sales opportunities.”

 

Fife Council Economic Development Team’s Trade Development Programme is supporting these local businesses to visit Southern Manufacturing.

 

Pamela Stevenson, Lead Officer, Enterprise and Business Development, Fife Council, said:

“Year-on-year, Fife businesses have reported success at Southern Manufacturing. The exhibition has offered the opportunity to network with colleagues in the industry, meet potential new customers and secure new contracts.

“With manufacturing evolving all the time, this exhibition is key, as it brings together the latest developments in industrial technology and engineering services, as well offering insight into some of Europe’s top engineering specialists.”

(Photo from Southern Manufacturing 2018)

 

For more information about Southern Manufacturing, please email: dorothy.smith@fife.gov.uk

 

Workplace Innovation Fund

The Workplace Innovation Fund – developed by Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway – can contribute up to £5,000 towards activities that will allow your business to introduce new and innovative workplace practices. The Fund will support projects centred on at least 2 out of the 3 following themes:

 

People – Your employees will individually and collectively have a range of ideas to make the business better. It is important to listen to their ideas and motivate beyond pay such as recognising the benefits of diversity, reward and supporting learning & development.

 

Place – Through better use of your workplace you can develop a culture of fresh thinking and a place where creativity can thrive. This isn’t just about moving desks or introducing new equipment. Reviewing your organisational structure can identify areas where employees are empowered to make decisions, remove silos, and increase cross-team working.

 

Practice – By actively involving your people in the design of your business developments you are more likely to find new and more efficient ways of working; making full use of their skills and experience to the greatest effect. Employees who feel empowered are more likely to drive change and work in a more collaborative style.

 

What it can be used for

Bespoke projects around the theme of Workplace Innovation. You may wish to look at issues such as developing the culture of your organisation, introducing new values or altering the existing values & vision of your company, how technology can be used to bring staff together to share knowledge, and identifying future leaders & succession planning.

They are not able to fund…

  • Purchase of ICT hardware, software, licences; or
  • Physical resources such as office furniture.

 

Eligibility

Companies have an ambition to increase turnover by £200,000 over a 3-year period. Companies must also be able to fund any projects upfront before claiming costs.

 

How to apply?

For further information and to apply please fill out a pre-qualification form on the Scottish Enteprise website. If you meet the above eligibility and would like to discuss your project, please contact Alison Hemsi. 

Good luck to finalists in the Fife Business Diversity Awards 2018

The Fife Business Diversity Awards 2018 will recognise the success of businesses, organisations and individuals who excel in promoting the employment of people who face disadvantages in the labour market.

 

Hosted by the Opportunities Fife Partnership, the annual event will take place on Friday 7 December at the Bay Hotel, Kinghorn.

 

People may experience disadvantage in finding and keep a job due to person issues, disability or health conditions, as well as lack of work experience, skills or qualifications.

 

These awards specifically acknowledge determination, resourcefulness and originality in creating equal opportunities for all in the work place.

 

Fife Provost and Councillor Jim Leishman, said, “I believe every one of us has a talent. Some of us discover it early in life, and many of us need support to find it. But I’ve learned that it’s not just about find your talent and skills, it’s about taking the opportunities that life presents us and facing the challenges of everyday living to put these talents and skills to use. It’s about being determined and facing adversity and not giving up on the dreams and goals we want to achieve.”

 

Lucinda McAllister, Service Manager for Employability and Supported Employment Service at Fife Council, added “I wish to thank our nominees for allowing us to learn about your journey, sharing a journey that was personal and inspiring – well done to you, you truly deserve the recognition you have received.”