An innovation centre for the Scottish food and drink industry will be officially launched in April. Dubbed Charis, the centre has been formed by the Hannah Research Institute and the Scottish Agricultural College which have pooled their resources and funding from the Scottish Executive. Professor Donald Muir of Charis said one of its key roles was to bridge the communications gap between academia and industry. In particular, he wants to ensure more of Scotland's SMEs are aware of what the academic base can offer businesses. The Charis founders work with some of the world's biggest food companies. But Muir said it would actively promote the fact it can offer the smallest firm everything from QA labs to technology mentoring. {{NEWS }}