Unlocking our innovative capabilities across our sectors and our places

A photograph of a staff member working at an engineering bench in Touch Bionics

Key points:

  • Optimise and recalibrate partnership with Industry Leadership Groups
  • Continue to fund our Innovation Centre programme
  • Establishing the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and targeting up to £18 million of European funding to establish an Advanced Manufacturing Challenge Fund
  • A new £56 million Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will put Scotland at the forefront of pharmaceutical and fine chemical manufacturing
  • £4.2m to build on our strengths in precision medicine
  • The new Northern Innovation Hub is driving innovation across the Inverness City Region
  • Developing an AL Strategy
  • Moving to extend designation of Scotland’s Enterprise Areas to 2022

The Scottish Government and its agencies are committed to working closely with businesses and their representatives to boost sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Industry Leadership Groups are a long-established route to engaging sectors leaders in Scotland in constructive dialogue about collaborative and aligned actions that deliver on our shared ambitions. Sectoral opportunities and challenges evolve over time, of course, and we all recognise the increasing pace of change in technology and global markets and the vital importance of a just transition to a low carbon economy. The Strategic Board is therefore consulting ILGs as part of a review which seeks to optimise and recalibrate how in the new decade we work together in an evolving partnership to deliver for Scotland.

We want businesses across Scotland to be able to take advantage of, and respond to interactions between automation, digitalisation and data and new manufacturing techniques to drive innovation and growth.

Our network of innovation centres across Scotland support a number of key sectors and we will continue to evolve this support network for businesses and the public sector in Scotland.

We will support Scotland’s thriving life sciences community in achieving its goal of doubling its turnover to £8 billion by 2025 by: increasing exports; creating the right business environment to flourish; innovation; and the development of new manufacturing facilities.

The sector is at the cutting edge of new technologies and medical devices and leveraging data to support the growth of precision medicine. The Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and industry are working together to realise the benefits of advances in data and digital for patients and the economy. We are also investing £4.2 million into building the precision medicine ecosystem to capitalise on Scotland’s strengths in this area. In addition, the £56 million Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) is a world first which will boost the competitiveness of the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals sector when it opens in 2021. The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre is now in development.

We are establishing the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS), an industry-led international centre of expertise which will make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing. It will support productivity improvements by enabling companies to develop, trial and test new processes and technology applications while helping existing and future workers develop the skills needed to convert to a globally competitive manufacturing sector.

NMIS will be located in Renfrewshire with Strathclyde as the anchor university. It will work closely with our enterprise and skills agencies, industry and other partners to reach out across Scotland as an integral element of our support for manufacturing businesses. To drive this national approach and ensure all parts of Scotland can benefit from developments in Advanced Manufacturing, we have established the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund. This will distribute up to £18 million of European Regional Development funding to support the equipment and facilities needed to spread the reach and benefits of advanced manufacturing across the country.”

Our investments in the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) and the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) have the potential to transform Scottish manufacturing. We are determined to fully realise that potential by ensuring that whatever stage companies are at in developing their skills and capability in areas such as digital manufacturing, automation and research and development, they have the right advice and support to help them make the next step. We will work across our enterprise and skills agencies, including the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS), with universities and colleges and with other public and private sector partners to achieve this.

Scotland has strong industrial and academic capability in space technologies. In addition to manufacturing more small satellites than any other country in Europe, we have strengths in payload development, mission control and data gathering and application. We are working with the Scottish Space Leadership Council to develop a programme of work to deliver our joint ambitions for the sector. We are also working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Space Agency and industry to deliver the UK’s first vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland. At the same time we are working to deliver a horizontal launch spaceport at Prestwick. By developing, manufacturing, launching and analysing satellites and satellite data, our space sector can support Scotland in becoming a leading space nation. In turn, supporting technologies for critical earth observation and environmental data will have a key role in addressing the global climate emergency.

We are fully committed to working with the UK Government to ensure the UK Industrial Strategy delivers maximum benefit for Scotland. We will continue to co-ordinate activity with our public, industry and academic partners to promote opportunities, collaborate and form project consortia which lead to a higher number of ambitious proposals for investment through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and Strength in Places Fund. At the end of April 2019, the UK Government announced that £87 million of UK Industrial Strategy funding had been awarded in grant to 163 Scottish organisations since its launch in April 2017.

Scotland has a strong and growing Photonics and Quantum Sector. The more established Photonics sector is a £1 billion pound industry supporting 4,000 highly skilled jobs at a value-add per employee that is 3 times the national average. This supports a cluster of innovative companies and academic centres in Scotland researching, developing and manufacturing cutting edge technologies and products for world-wide export. Photonics and quantum are two of the critical enabling and emerging technologies of the 21st century, underpinning inventions central to modern life, from robotics and autonomous systems to connected living. Last year Scottish Ministers worked with industry to launch its strategy Scottish Photonics: Vision to 2030. At the heart of this vision is an ambition to treble the size of Scotland’s Photonics Sector by 2030. Ministers also opened Scotland’s only ‘Quantum Playground’ created by M Squared Lasers at the Technology Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde.

Industrial biotechnology is an emerging sector in Scotland, with potential for major growth. It is replacing existing pharmaceuticals, chemicals and fuels with sustainable, non-fossil-based alternatives, giving it potential to help us meet our climate change targets. We are working with the Centre and industry to deliver on the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology. The Plan aims to increase the number of companies active in industrial biotechnology to over 200 and achieve turnover of £900 million. Progress reported earlier in 2019 highlighted that the number of active companies and value of sales have doubled.

For rural areas, our Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund, which is part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme, has committed to provide around £5 million of support for a range of industry led projects and initiatives that promote: knowledge exchange, transfer and innovation; enhance agricultural business viability and competitiveness; promote the restoration, preservation and enhancement of ecosystems; and supports resource efficiency and the shift toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the agricultural sector.

We have committed £750,000 until 2020 to support the Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS), as part of the Scottish Rural Network (SRN), to broker collaborative innovation in the food and drink supply chain. There are currently 31 live RISS projects, as well as eight which have completed, six of which have received funding through the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF). Impacts from group activity are being evaluated and will be published on the RISS website.

We are working with SE, HIE Interface and Scotland Food & Drink to make it easier for our food and drink businesses to innovate and to profit from innovative approaches. We have also launched a single gateway for food and drink businesses to access tailored advice and support on innovation.

We will also develop an AI Strategy to ensure that Scotland maximises the potential economic, social and environmental benefits of AI and sends a strong signal to the world about our ambition.

Informed by the findings of a recently completed Scottish Enterprise evaluation, we will move to extend designation of Scotland’s network of Enterprise Areas (EAs) for a further two years beyond March 2020. Four themed Enterprise Areas span 16 different sites across urban and rural Scotland. The EAs aim to support development of key growth sectors (Life Sciences, Low Carbon Industries, Manufacturing and Food and Drink) and creation of high quality jobs. In dialogue with our partners in the public and private sectors we will examine how the impact of EAs might be improved and their contribution, alongside other complementary measures focused on developing key growth sectors at sites across Scotland, can be maximised.

Case study: Ready for take-off with Spire Global

Scotland’s space sector is set for lift-off after the First Minister announced £14.7 million of support for Spire Global to grow its operations in Glasgow.

Spire Global builds, tests and operates nanosatellites, which track aviation, maritime and weather patterns. The funding will enable the company to move into new 40,000sq ft premises at Glasgow’s Skypark facility, creating 261 new skilled jobs in the process. This investment will also see the company’s expanded Glasgow site house both the manufacturing and testing capability for the group’s entire satellite constellation. The funding for Spire Global, which has offices across the world, demonstrates the Scottish Government and its agencies’ commitment to make Scotland the leading space nation in Europe.

There are now more than 130 space organisations in Scotland, including the headquarters of 83 UK space industry firms, with a combined income of £140 million. More small satellites are also built in Glasgow than any other place in Europe, and last year plans were announced for the UK’s first spaceport in the far north of Scotland. These and other advances mean Scotland’s space sector could be worth £4 billion by 2030.

Peter Platzer, co-Founder and CEO of Spire Global, said: “Glasgow has been a fantastic location for us, with exceptional talent and people with a phenomenal ‘can-do’ attitude and true grit. We are excited to substantially expand our presence here and look forward to the continuation of strong partnerships within Scotland, the UK Space Agency, and the wider UK space ecosystems.”

Key resources:

Innovation Centres

Strathclyde in Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre

UK’s first spaceport to be based in Sutherland

Innovative Farmers