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21 November 2003

Media Lab Europe Forms Groundbreaking Partnership with UK Public Agency

Media Lab Europe has formed a strategic partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise network.

The collaboration - the first of its kind in Europe involving Media Lab Europe and a public agency - will accelerate the commercial application of research emerging from Media Lab Europe for small and medium enterprises and microbusinessess in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland.

The alliance is aimed at enabling small businesses harness the potential of new technologies emerging from Media Lab Europe and help improve businesses competitiveness at local, national and international levels.

Ronan Smith, Director of Corporate Relations at Media Lab Europe, said the agreement marks an evolution in the development of the organisation's partnership model. "In the past we have mainly partnered with organisations in the private sector as well as educational bodies. The Laboratory is now working with regional development authorities across Europe, together driving innovation in the public sector."

Business Lab, the Scottish IT research and consultancy group, will assist in managing the partnership with Media Lab Europe. The Highlands and Islands Enterprise network will fine-tune the partnership's output to match the current and anticipated needs of businesses.

Callum Davidson, Head of Highlands and Islands Enterprise knowledge economy team said: "One of the ambitions set out in the Scottish Executive's Smart Successful Scotland strategy is to improve Scotland's research base and this deal plugs us into an internationally-renowned research centre with world-class expertise."

Among the key objectives of the partnership will be:

  • Enabling businesses, government agencies and academia to access leading-edge research in a practical and relevant manner.

  • Establishing a programme for the application of collaborative outputs in the form of knowledge, products and processes.

  • Identifying potential partners for new collaborative research programmes involving Media Lab Europe and Business Lab.

  • Creating opportunities for the commercial exploitation by the partnership of commercial products emerging from the research programme.

  • Supporting Highlands and Islands Enterprise networks efforts to improve collaboration between business and academic and research communities.

  • Identifying research themes which support the strategic goals of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise network.

About Media Lab Europe
Media Lab Europe is an international research and innovation Lab. It is also the European research partner of the world renowned MIT Media Lab. Its interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to innovation provides a unique environment for exploring advanced research that facilitates the development of technologies that expand human potential right across society. Media Lab Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that supports its work through corporate, community, academic and public research partnerships.

About The Highlands and Islands Enterprise Network
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise network (HIE) is responsible for economic and community development in an area which covers more than half of Scotland, from Scotland to Argyll. HIE's headquarters are in Inverness and most of its services are delivered through ten local enterprise companies. The network employs around 500 people, including 150 Careers Scotland staff and last year invested more than £100 million to help people living in the Highlands and Islands realise their full potential.

About Business Lab
Business Lab is a leading Scottish IT-related research group, specializing in the creation of research consortia to develop tools and processes for application by SMEs to improve their competitiveness. The company focuses on the application of technology in the areas of business strategy, learning environments and socio/economic inclusion. Over the last five years, Business Lab's research has resulted in a number of innovative e-business and e-learning programmes for businesses in the UK, India, Australia, Scandinavia and North America.

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