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As part of a £127 million UK wide investment in research and innovation announced today, Scotland and Cumbria will receive £21.3 million of funding to support the rural economy. The investment, from the UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund, will be matched by finance from other sources to create a total budget of around £37 million.

The Digital Dairy Value-Chain project has been designed to provide long-term economic benefits; job creation, skills development, future industrial competitiveness and quality of life were all among the criteria for the awarding of funds. The project has been under development and receiving seed-corn funding since August 2020.

Dairy farmers in south west Scotland and Cumbria currently produce 1.9 billion litres of milk each year. This will be protected and enhanced by the creation of more than 600 new jobs and the addition of £60 million to the annual output of the regional economy.

Through new research and innovation activities led by Scotland’s rural college (SRUC), the project will renew and decarbonise the area’s dairy industry, making it stronger and more sustainable for the future. Other partners include SFC-funded CENSIS, the universities of Strathclyde and the West of Scotland, Cows & Co Group Limited and Lactalis McLelland Limited.

UK Research and Innovation’s Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said:

“UK Research and Innovation funding through the Strength in Places Fund brings researchers, industry and local leadership together in outstanding collaborative programmes that catalyse significant economic growth.

“The projects funded in this round are excellent illustrations of how local partnerships in research and innovation can contribute to building an inclusive knowledge economy for the UK.”

Further information on all five projects receiving Strength in Places funding is available on the UKRI website.