Unlocking our innovative capabilities across our sectors and our places.

A glowing light bulb

  • 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

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.

Life Sciences

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.

National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland

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 will target up to £18 million of European Regional Development funding to establish an Advanced Manufacturing Challenge Fund 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.

Space Technologies

Scotland has strong industrial and academic capability in space technologies including payload development, mission control, data gathering and application, and satellite manufacture – we manufacture more micro-satellites than any other country in Europe. We are working with the Scottish Space Leadership Council to help deliver the industry’s growth ambitions and with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the UK Space Agency and industry to deliver the UK’s only vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland. This will mean that satellites can be built, launched and operated from Scotland.

UK Industrial Strategy

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.

Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund

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.

Food and Drink

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 are committing up to £750,000 until 2020 to support the Rural Innovation Support Service to broker collaborative innovation in the food and drink supply chain.

We will continue to support the building of more houses in rural areas to meet local needs, including via the £30 million Rural and Island Housing Fund. Through the Self-Build Loan Fund piloted in the Highland Council Area we have delivered 14 new homes.

Key resources:

Strathclyde in Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre

UK’s first spaceport to be based in Sutherland