Queen Margaret University has a long-held reputation for producing excellent research, encouraging innovative thinking and building regional and international partnerships with industry and the third sector.  

In response to an unprecedented change in the research landscape QMU has been exploring how we pursue UK opportunities for more proactive exploitation of potentially overlapping interdisciplinary approaches and funding. 

In 2019 we awarded the first QMU Innovation Fellowships to researchers to explore and develop a range of projects with the potential to have significant health, cultural, economic and environmental impact. The appointment of QMU Innovation Fellowships is pivotal in helping us maximise all opportunities to engage with the UK Industrial Strategy and Industrial Challenge Fund.

Applications for QMU Innovation Fellowships 2020/2021 are now OPEN and will close on Friday 14th August. Anyone who is interested should contact Miriam Smith for an initial discussion 

Dr Cathy Bulley, Dr Kavi Jagadamma, Dr Derek Santos



From left: Gillian Robertson, MS Therapy Centre; Derek Santos; Cathy Bulley; Kavi Jagadamma

Dr Cathy Bulley (Reader in Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences), Dr Kavi Jagadamma (Lecturer in Dietetics, Nutrition and Biologicals Sciences) and Dr Derek Santos (Senior Lecturer in Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences) were awarded an Innovation Fellowship to further test Smart-Strap technology which has been developed and modelled in QMU’s Orthotic Laboratory using experiential, clinical and research expertise to alleviate the effects of Foot Drop.

Foot Drop can affect people following a stroke, people with Multiple Sclerosis, or as a consequence of trauma, nerve disease or cerebral palsy.  As well as presenting a physical impact in terms of decreased mobility and an increase in the chances of injury, people with Foot Drop report a loss of self-esteem and a reduction in quality of life.  The team, who are linked with the Centre for Person-centred Research, will be also be working in partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre to prove that Smart-Strap technology can address some of these challenges by improving the options available to manage Foot Drop.



Dr Julien Lonchamp

Profile photograph of Julien Lonchamp

Dr Julien Lonchamp, Lecturer in Biochemistry with Food Sciences, was awarded an Innovation Fellowship to develop a novel vegan texturing ingredient for palm oil replacement in selected bakery applications with colleagues at the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation. 

Palm Oil has become the main fat-based texturizer across the food industry because of its unique lipid composition which allows it to be solid at room temperature, and because of its low production costs. The devastating impact of palm cultivation on the environment has been well documented and the industry is looking for sustainable alternatives. However, so far, no suitable replacer has been found to mimic the outstanding functional properties of palm oil. 

As part of this project Dr Lonchamp and his colleague Catriona Liddle optimised the composition and processing of a novel palm fat replacement ingredient.

They are currently using the results to develop a research proposal aiming to develop novel sustainable palm- and fat-free applications and build a collaborative industry-academic consortium. 

Dr Felix Schaeffler

Profile Photograph of Dr Felix Schaeffler

Dr Felix Schaeffler, Lecturer in Speech and Hearing Sciences and a member of the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Centre, was awarded an Innovation Fellowship for The Voice Distillery – voice quality tagging for the creative industries.

The human voice shows an extraordinary amount of meaningful variability and an individual’s voice quality and timbre causes a range of reactions including personality attributions. The underlying characteristics and specific use of a voice for a certain purpose can trigger a variety of responses in a listener, and the importance of voice choice, for example in commercials, has long been recognised.

Vocal Profile Analysis’ (VPA) is a phonetically motivated perceptual voice analysis scheme developed and refined by researchers from Edinburgh University and QMU since the 1980’s. VPA is the most comprehensive system for voice quality description to date. The current project will investigate the potential uses of VPA for the creative industries, focusing on automatic VPA and voice quality tagging for voice sample evaluation.

The innovative technology developed throughout the study has potential to contribute to both high-impact scientific publications (once IP protection is secured) as well as the establishment of a sustainable business.

The Fellowship award allowed for the time and resources to submit a Scottish Enterprise SMART: Scotland Feasibility Study Application which if successful will help the team form a new company.

"Funding streams like SMART Scotland require consideration of both technological and commercial aspects of a project, and the fellowship funded consultation of external experts and helped shaping the application outside my area of expertise."

"SMART Scotland also requires match funding from other sources.  The Fellowship meant that I was able to gather a team of experts and discuss the business idea and its potential.  Subsequently we successfully raised private investment.  The Fellowship also wed me to initiate contacts with VC investors/business angels and financial experts, as a first step towards funding the company beyond the feasibility study."





Dr David Stevenson

Dr David Stevenson, Head of Media, Communications and Performing Arts,  Senior Lecturer in Arts Management and Cultural Policy, and Director of the Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies was awarded an Innovation Fellowship to explore the feasibility of a new degree-level qualification for students who have already completed an HND in a creative subject. The proposed delivery model would see students studying for their degree at the college where they gained their HND thus addressing one of the major barriers to undertaking degree-level studies - that of the significant costs associated with moving away from home. Focused on how to develop a sustainable career in the creative industries, the syllabus would provide students with the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills required to create and sustain a creative business, alongside the opportunity to develop their creative practice. This new qualification aims to engender greater equity and diversity in Scotland’s creative sector as well as supporting the government’s aspiration for inclusive economic growth.

"The Fellowship supported the development of this idea in two specific ways.  Firstly, it allowed me to bring in some additional resource in the form of a part-time member of staff with specific expertise in curriculum development for further education.  This not only ensured that someone was able to give the concentrated time and focus needed to develop my initial outline into a fully developed syllabus but also to do so in a manner which ensured that it would effectively align with the qualification that prospective students would have completed when joining this programme.

"Secondly, the Fellowship allowed us to formally partner with the Cultural Enterprise Office in order to shape the new syllabus on the basis of their first hand insights about what type of knowledge, skills and experiences new graduates in the creative industries tend to currently lack.  This ensured that the new degree programme will be industry oriented and informed by the latest thinking about creative entrepreneurship."

University Innovation Fellowships

Show Contacts

University Innovation Fellowships

Miriam Smith Business Development Manager
0131 474 0000
07872 128 688