The fund will be managed by the Scottish Funding Council, which has already established FUTUREquipped, a pilot project involving colleges and half of Scotland’s eight current innovation centres. The pilot will see innovation centres and colleges working collaboratively to demonstrate a new approach to skills training for the future needs of industry – led by industry itself. The money is also being invested in a pioneering College Innovation Accelerator Fund and in further support for the College Innovation Voucher Scheme.
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: “Scotland’s economic success has been forged on innovation – it is intrinsic to our culture and we want to extend this to all aspects of our society and economy, with a strong ambition to broaden innovation activity within our SME community.
“I am delighted to launch the £500,000 College Innovation Fund, which arises from cross-portfolio work between economy and education ministers within our CAN DO Business Innovation Forum, and which will support future job creation and skills needs, by increasing innovation and engagement between colleges and businesses, recognising the strong links colleges have with local businesses. The fund will establish dynamic links between our colleges and our innovation centres helping us drive increased productivity, competitiveness and growth, playing a vital role in creating the jobs of the future.”
Mike Cantlay, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “Colleges across Scotland already play an incredibly important role in helping businesses to be innovative. This funding takes things to a new level, especially in helping to exploit the very exciting opportunities being created through the innovation centre programme.”