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THREE new projects in Scotland are set to benefit from early stage investment from UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund (SIPF). The investment, which will see support given to 17 developing projects in total across the UK, will harness research and innovation excellence to drive local economic growth.

Covering a wide range of innovative sectors including healthcare, agri-technology, and clean energy, the projects will tackle some of the biggest challenges facing Scotland and the UK today. They will build on local strengths in industry and research to create significant economic impact, drive local growth, provide skills training and create high-value jobs.

This funding follows the announcement on 26 June of investment, totalling £60.5m, in two projects backed by Scottish universities as part of Wave 1 of the SIPF. Announced in the UK Industrial Strategy in November 2017, the £236 million SIPF benefits all nations and regions of the UK by enabling them to tap into the world-class research and innovation capability that is spread right across the country.

The new consortia, which involve universities, research organisations, businesses and local leadership, will receive up to £50,000 each to develop full-stage bids for funding from the second Wave of SIPF. This seed funding will allow the consortia to develop their projects and apply for a further £10-50 million each from UKRI later this year.

Responding to the announcement, Dr Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council said:

“Following Scotland’s success in Phase 1, I am delighted that our universities have continued to engage creatively and enthusiastically with the opportunities presented by the Strength in Places Fund. It is testament to the strength of our research base and the vision of our companies that Scotland is well represented in the projects that have received seed funding today.

The three Scottish projects are excellent examples of how our research community, working in collaboration with industry partners and others, can make a real difference to meeting the needs of Scotland’s economy and wider society. I look forward to seeing these projects develop into full-stage bids.”

The list of projects being supported in Scotland is detailed below.

Project Institution Sector Summary
Digital Dairy Value-Chain for South-West Scotland and Cumbria SRUC Agri-Tech, Food and Drink Digital Dairy Value-Chain for South-West Scotland and Cumbria

Activities include:

  • Digital Connectivity:improving milk production and processing using digital twinning, smart factories and connected supply chains.
  • Research, Development and Innovation:infrastructure and expertise to promote partnerships to develop and commercialise new products and processes.
  • Business growth:support for businesses looking to scale up, including facilities for new product development and process improvement.
  • People and Skills:industry-focused training for digital business skills in the remote rural regions.
Centre for Regulated Bio-Manufacture, boosting an advanced therapies, biologics and manufacturing cluster Heriot-Watt University Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Centre for Regulated Bio-Manufacture (Edinburgh):led by Heriot-Watt University, the consortium aims to establishan advanced therapies, biologics and manufacturing cluster in the Lothian region. Essential new therapies based on cellular technologies, such as transplanted donor tissues or cells, and of bio-therapeutics such as antibodies, require both a complex manufacturing infrastructure and skilled people to ensure quality and standards. This consortium spanning academia, business and the NHS will provide highly trained people and cutting edge facilities that will make this possible in the Lothians. This includes a new building for Real world learning, research and manufacture that contains the laboratory facilities required, co-located with NHS facilities and an industry cluster.
HotScot– Unlocking Minewater Geothermal Energy Within Former Mining Areas of Scotland’s Central Belt University of Strathclyde Energy HotScot (Glasgow):led by the University of Strathclyde, the consortium will oversee three new mine water geothermal projects, extracting heat from old flooded mines, which will help to provide low-cost, low-emissions heat for communities and businesses across Scotland’s Central Belt.