Scottish businesses are set to get easier access to funding due to a new landmark agreement between Scottish Enterprise and Innovate UK, set out at the Glasgow City of Science and Innovation led CAN DO Innovation Summit.
The two agencies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding which aims to streamline the journey through the innovation support system for Scottish businesses.
Adrian Gillespie, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, and Indro Mukerjee, chief executive of Innovate UK, both signed the agreement at the CAN DO Innovation Summit in Glasgow Science Centre.
They were joined by chair of the Glasgow City Region Cabinet and leader of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken, who also revealed the brand-new Innovation Action Plan for the region.
Gillespie said: “Our collaboration with Innovate UK means business support that’s easier to access and navigate.
“This will start in Glasgow City Region with the Innovation Action Plan, but the impact will be felt much wider, across Scotland’s unique assets and hubs – from energy transition in Aberdeen to tech clusters in Edinburgh.
“Working alongside Innovate UK and local authorities allows us to work smarter on transformational projects in future industries that create jobs, wellbeing and prosperity.”
This activity supports Scottish Government’s recently-launched innovation strategy ambition.
In the last five years, Glasgow City Region has received £195m in funding for innovation through Innovate UK.
Scotland was also recently announced as one of the regions chosen for the Innovate UK Launchpad competition, which will provide up to £7m support to the country’s biotech sector.
Mukerjee said: “I am pleased to launch our collaborative innovation action plan, which is the result of a strong and close partnerships with Glasgow City Region and Scottish Enterprise.
“It is a significant opportunity to build stronger links with Scottish regions, giving businesses greater access to our innovation ecosystem, helping them grow and succeed.”
The Glasgow City Region’s Innovation Action Plan is the first in Scotland and sets the scene for a Scottish Action Plan due to be released next year, which will align with Scotland’s Innovation Strategy.
It will cover six major themes: inclusive economy, skills, ecosystem, identity, investment and infrastructure.
Aitken said: “The Action Plan builds on our existing strengths and assets, allowing partners across all tiers of government, academia and industry to nurture a world-leading culture of creativity and invention.
“It’s a huge opportunity to generate the employment, training, and productivity outcomes our citizens need and our economy demands, the start of a new phase in our journey to become the most productive, innovative, and resilient economy across these islands by 2030.”
Specific actions include establishing innovation fellowships, entrepreneurial campuses and creating an investor roadmap of Glasgow’s assets. In addition, all activities will complement an agreement from partners to work more closely to enhance the region’s identity as a cluster for innovation.
Glasgow City Region’s economic strengths from its industrial heritage to its innovation districts led to its selection for Innovate UK’s £33m Innovation Accelerator programme, that was the precursor to the Action Plan, with 11 projects spanning a range of key sectors already in place.
More than 1,000 delegates attended the annual CAN DO Innovation Summit on 7th Nov, hearing from 50 speakers on how new technologies can help to tackle the challenges faced by Scottish industry and society.