By Press Office 06 February 2015

Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has today released results of an independent study that demonstrates the university’s positive contribution to economic growth in the food and drink sector in Scotland.

With a particular focus on health and nutrition, QMU experts are helping sector businesses develop and test products and ingredients, reformulate existing products to provide healthier alternatives, improve processing and preservation of products, analyse nutritional value and gain market feedback.

The findings of the research into QMU’s Knowledge Exchange programme carried out by O’Herlihy & Co show that the majority of the companies interviewed reported a positive impact on their business turnover as a direct result of the technical and marketing support provided by the university.

The other most commonly identified benefits among respondents were: improvements in the knowledge and skills of staff (75%); increased management confidence (63%); new products or services developed (50%); and the company is more competitive (50%). The results showed QMU understands the commercial sector, with 88% of respondents indicating they felt the University completely understood their business.

The report comes as QMU following the launch of the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation, providing new facilities to increase its capacity to provide further valuable commercial development and practical innovation support to companies operating in the sector.

Dr Jane McKenzie, academic lead for Food and Drink at QMU, said, “This is the first independent evaluation we have carried out on our knowledge exchange programme in food innovation and it provides a good benchmark for our growing activity in this important sector of the Scottish economy. 

The feedback has been very positive, not just around our core activity of providing tailored support that has produced valuable outcomes for the SMEs taking part in the study, but that there is an appreciation of the wider role of the university in creating Common Interest Groups which allow SME’s to network and innovate through shared knowledge, and of the value of the PR and marketing support we can provide.”

Although all of the businesses interviewed had engaged with QMU on a tailored business development project, many respondents saw their relationship with the University as a partnership, and therefore long term. Almost all businesses found QMU to be very approachable, indicating the University is successful in bridging the divide between the commercial sector and the academic sector.

Notes to Editor

For further media information please contact Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, tel: 0131 474 0000, Email: jperkins@qmu.ac.uk

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Image Jonathan Perkins Press and PR Officer
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