£14M boost for Scotland’s innovation centres

AN EXTRA £14 million is being invested in Scotland’s innovation centres to further improve links between education and industry, the Scottish Government has announced.

Innovation centres are set to benefit from the investment. Picture: Callum Bennett

The funding builds on the £110 million already committed to the centres which are partnerships between universities and businesses to enhance innovation in Scotland’s key economic sectors.

Education Secretary Michael Russell will announce the capital investment during a visit today to a centre in Paisley which develops state-of-the-art support for pharmaceutical research and disease management.

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He said: “The innovation centre collaborations already in place will help develop the skills that Scottish business needs to succeed in the global marketplace in a range of sectors.

“By using Scotland’s exceptional research base, we are able to respond nimbly to opportunities for potential growth.

“This is an exciting time for the centres, which are developing practical solutions to challenges faced by industry. Today’s announcement of £14 million for capital investment will build on the £110 million already committed.”

Mr Russell, who will meet staff at the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre, added: “The potential of these partnerships is incredible - bringing together the research excellence within our universities and the entrepreneurship within our business sector to deliver real social and economic benefits.”

Dr Mark Beggs, chief operating officer at the centre, said: “This additional investment is extremely welcome and will further help in the development of our approach to the treatment of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, inflammation, multiple sclerosis and neurology.”

Professor Anna F Dominiczak of the University of Glasgow, one of the lead partners in the centre said: “The Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre is a once in a lifetime opportunity to combine our strengths in academic research, the presence of major pharmaceutical companies on our doorstep, the NHS and government support to produce world-leading innovations for treatment of chronic diseases.

“Scotland is uniquely well placed to be global leaders in this exciting field and our researchers are already working with sequenced human genomes to produce the most appropriate treatments for individual patients who are suffering from debilitating illnesses.

“That is the essence of stratified medicine and we are very grateful for the continued support and encouragement that we receive from government, industry, the NHS and academic partners.”

Including today’s £14 milion investment, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has committed a total of £124 million to the programme over six years.

Other centres which have been approved for the funding include the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre.

Laurence Howells, chief executive of the SFC, said: “The centres’ work will have real impact - better healthcare and medicine for our families; more sustainable food through improved fish farming; more energy-efficient homes through developments in construction.

“Through the innovation centres, research from our world-leading universities is helping industry develop new products and processes that will benefit our day-to-day living.”