Summary

Enabling our colleges and universities to drive innovation.


A woman in a library


  • Providing Scottish universities with funding via the Scottish Funding Council in support of excellent research and knowledge exchange between academia and businesses
  • Continuing to support Scotland’s programme of Innovation Centres
  • Piloting a new £500k College Innovation Fund to encourage translation of academic research and vocational skills into business innovation
  • Increasing our commitment to the value of research as a driver of innovation and to academia-industry collaboration by investing a further £17.6m in Scottish universities in 2018-19

The global strength and excellence of Scotland’s universities is reflected in our position within the top quartile of OECD countries for higher education expenditure on research and development as a percentage of GDP, as well as having four universities in the world’s top 200 (Times Higher Education). We want to maintain that position and ensure this R&D translates into practical economic success.

Innovation Centres

We are working collaboratively across the public sector by building on the £100 million already invested in Scotland’s eight, university-hosted Innovation Centres. These are having a transformational effect on our economy. Future funding has already been agreed for Censis – Centre of excellence for Sensor and Imaging Systems (£9.25m), IBIoIC – Scotland’s Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (£11.1m), and the Data Lab (£13.5m).

We are committed to enabling our colleges and universities to play an active role in business innovation. We are providing Scottish universities with funding to encourage closer links between academia and industry and supporting Interface to help businesses find and access academic expertise, research, technologies, specialist facilities and funding, and to work collaboratively with each other and academia to tackle industry sector challenges.

We also work with the SFC to fund a range of activities aimed at boosting business links: this includes the recently launched £500k College Innovation Fund, which will see innovation centres and colleges working collaboratively to demonstrate a new approach to skills training. It will also invest in a pioneering College Innovation Accelerator Fund and provide further support for the College Innovation Voucher Scheme.

Key resources:

Scottish Funding Council: Innovation Centres

Scottish Funding Council: University Innovation Fund

Scottish Funding Council

Converge Challenge

CENSIS: Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems

IBioIC Innovation Centre

The Data Lab