A new project has been launched to benefit a range of Scottish SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) working in the high-value chemical and biochemical supply chains.

The SCOUT (Scottish Outreach) project will deploy the technology of partners in the programme to accelerate and de-risk the growth of Scottish SMEs – including those which are underserved and remote – by enabling new partnerships and increased technology adoption.

Fifty SMEs from across Scotland will be selected to attend a series of planned innovation clinics, supported by all of the partner organisations. Companies will be connected to new networks and supply chains to encourage partnerships and attend workshops with a focus on common technology and business challenges, including equality, sustainability and diversity.

The project is being led by the CPI (Centre for Process Innovation) Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, in which the University of Strathclyde is a partner. It has been launched in collaboration with the Strathclyde-led CMAC Future Manufacturing Research Hub and the Strathclyde-hosted Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC).

Professor Alastair Florence, Director of the CMAC Future Manufacturing Research Hub, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the Scottish research, innovation and SME community to stand out.

“Access to innovation clinics and consultancy, supporting all of Scotland, will allow new and unique services and products to enter the market and support economic growth at a time when this is more important than ever.

“This inventive, collaborative approach would not have been possible without the SCOUT project. The CMAC Future Manufacturing Research Hub works in partnership with industry and the supply chain to transform medicines development and manufacture.”

Dr Mark Bustard, CEO, IBioIC, said: “IBioIC is delighted to work with CPI on the SCOUT project. Alongside CMAC, IBioIC will support our industry members and Scotland’s wider Industrial Biotechnology community to ensure that the SMEs can take advantage of the tools created through the SCOUT project to accelerate the exploitation of their innovations.”

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre at CPI, said: “The SCOUT project is providing Scottish SMEs in the high value chemical and biochemical supply chains with a great opportunity to drive forward the Scottish economy once the COVID-19 pandemic is over”.

The SCOUT project aims to drive future economic growth in Scotland, providing services for underserved Scottish SMEs and ensuring previous barriers – as a result of geographical or technical limitations – are removed. This connection and support will ultimately generate new ideas and revenue, helping to accelerate the delivery of disruptive technology to the market.

CPI will also provide promising SMEs with Innovation Integrator assessments, a proprietary diagnostic tool used to identify innovation gaps, prioritise resources, and both assess and improve the market readiness of a product or process. In addition, deep technical consultancy – supported by all project partners – will provide selected SMEs with the opportunity to receive knowledge and expertise on specific topics, as well as providing the next steps for implementing specific recommendations.

As location can often act as a barrier to event attendance, two innovation clinics will be located in central Scotland, while the other two will be located in the Highlands & Islands region.

CMAC, now in its 10th year, is based in Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre and has attracted more than £50 million of investment to date. These investments have established a world-class research facility supporting a portfolio of training, research and translation programmes developed in partnership with industry to transform the way medicines are developed and manufactured. The facility is sited in the Glasgow City Innovation District, which is transforming the way academia, business and industry collaborate to bring competitive advantage to Scotland.

The University of Strathclyde is a strategic partner in the new Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) and CMAC is working closely with MMIC to develop novel digital design tools for drug product manufacture using continuous direct compression.