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SFC played host to top UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) officials last week for discussions around Scotland’s research and innovation strengths.

UKRI’s Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport met with SFC Chief Executive Karen Watt and Director of Research and Innovation Dr Stuart Fancey to discuss Scotland’s strengths and the active partnership between SFC and UKRI.

During his visit Sir Mark also met with two Edinburgh-based life sciences companies, Synpromics Ltd and RoslinCT.
On the same day, SFC hosted a seminar chaired by UKRI Chair Sir John Kingman on the UK Government’s target of increasing R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027,  attended by a range of representatives from Scotland’s research, business and innovation sectors.

Sir John and Sir Mark were invited to dinner at Bute House, hosted by the Deputy First Minister John Swinney for discussion with Ministers on working together to achieve the goals of both Scottish and UK Governments.

Speaking after his visit, Sir Mark said:

“UKRI has a close working partnership with SFC and it was great to meet Karen Watt and Stuart Fancey to reflect on that relationship, and Scotland’s world-class research base, which makes a particularly significant contribution to the UK’s research excellence.”

“The research done in Scotland is of the highest quality.  It was a pleasure to meet two exciting Scottish bioscience companies, RoslinCT and Synpromics Ltd, who are turning gene and cell therapy research into economic and medical reality.”

“Sir John and I were also delighted to be able to discuss our shared agendas for research, innovation and international reach with Deputy First Minister John Swinney and his ministerial colleagues. This was informed by a broader discussion on the UK’s R&D investment goals and Scotland’s research, business and innovation communities.”

Karen Watt, SFC chief executive said:

“It was fantastic to meet with Sir Mark and Sir John, and we had a very productive discussion on Scotland’s strengths in research and its commercialisation, as well as our role in achieving the 2.4% target.

“Scotland’s research productivity exceeds the UK average. However, business R&D investment has traditionally been concentrated in the south. To meet the UK target and ensure that the benefits of research are felt by all, it will be crucial that we help to attract R&D investment, both public and private, to all parts of Scotland.”

“This is an ambitious target that will require concerted efforts from all parties. However, with our world-class universities and innovation focus, Scotland is well-positioned to take advantage of the benefits the increased investment by UKRI will bring for our economy.”