IAA Impact Festival 2024

A one-day event for academics from the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St Andrews, and Strathclyde. Hear impact success stories, find a collaboration partner from another Scottish university, and access funds for impact collaborations.

Save the date:
4 September 2024 at COSLA, Edinburgh Haymarket


The festival will be held in September and will support:

Building impact awareness and knowledge with our academic communities


Developing future Impact Leaders


Creating & developing networks between our institutions to encourage collaborations that will drive impact


IAA Impact Festival 2023

Inspirational sessions included a keynote speech from Mark Miodownik and skills development and networking facilitated by Skillfluence. In lightning talks, impact leaders from all five universities shared their experiences of creating different types of impact from social and policy impact to industry collaboration, commercialisation and company creation. 
In the exhibition space, attendees met funders and innovation hubs that provide support for impact activities.

The programme and speakers for our 2024 event have yet to be announced.

Photo of Professor Mark Miodownik
Prof. Mark Miodownik
Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at UCL, champions materials science research that links to the arts and humanities, medicine and society. Mark established the Institute of Making, where he is a director and runs the research programme. He also recently set up the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub to carry out research into solving the environmental catastrophe of plastic waste. Mark is a broadcaster and writer on science and engineering issues, and believes passionately that to engineer is human. In 2018 he was awarded an MBE for services to materials science, engineering and broadcasting.
Dr Laura Wicks
Public Engagement Lead
Heriot-Watt University

Lothian Lugs – flipped the model of university engagement

Laura discussed the Lothian Lugs project, which focused on listening to communities, to co-develop an engagement programme with our communities, for our communities. Her team held focus groups across West Lothian, leading to inspiring conversations about research and universities – What is research? What do universities do? How can we find out more? Evidence from the scoping allowed the development of multiple programmes reaching seldom-heard audiences and ignited new partnerships.

Dr Daniel Hodgson
Dr Daniel Hodgson
Executive Director of Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership
University of Edinburgh

The physics of goo: Impact from soft matter and complex fluids

The Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership (ECFP) is a unique grouping of physicists, engineers, biologists and chemists who work at the interface of academia and industry to facilitate bi-directional knowledge exchange. They have used EPSRC IAA funding to collaborate with their industry partners across diverse sectors including chocolate, ceramics, and biomedical devices, delivering impact in reformulation for improved products, more efficient processing, and reduced waste.

Rebecca Cleary
Dr Rebecca Cleary
Co-founder and Technical Lead of Nami Surgical
University of Glasgow

Unlocking the future of ultrasonic surgery

Rebecca discussed her IAA project that focused on the fabrication and validation of a functional miniaturised ultrasonic scalpel for robotic surgery. The outcome of her project is the spin-out Nami Surgical.

Prof. Charles MacLeod
Professor in Electronic and Electrical Engineering
University of Strathclyde

Innovation to impact: Enhancing through-life asset management, from Cradle to Grave

Charles presented the opportunities and challenges in translating innovation into practical societal impact, while discussing real-world case studies and success stories focussed around manufacturing and through-life asset management applications in the energy and transport sectors.

Dr Ross Gillanders

Senior Research Fellow, founder of Lightwater Sensors
University of St Andrews

Lightwater Sensors

Ross talked about how his detector provides a low-cost, real-time diagnostic system for detecting both chemical species and specific targeted analytes, making it a valuable tool for addressing water quality issues more effectively.

Please contact us using the online form or through the below address if you would like further information.

Policy, Strategy and Impact Research Engagement
Heriot-Watt University
EH14 4AS