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The UK Government is investing in regional strengths in innovation to level up local economies and create high quality jobs.

What is innovation?

Innovation involves turning ideas, research and technology into new products, services or processes that benefit society.  It doesn’t have to be a new invention, it could be using an existing idea or piece of technology and using it in a new way or applying it in a new area.

Innovation is important for improving our businesses, public services, and non-profit sectors.  It can create many high-quality jobs and bring investment into a region by providing companies with a competitive advantage that enables them to grow quickly.

The UK Government supports innovation by offering organisations access to expertise and equipment, help with building partnerships, and funding through grants or loans.

Strength In Places Fund

The Strength In Places Fund is a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) programme that supports innovation-led regional growth.  It does this by funding  consortiums of research organisations and businesses.

The UK Government is investing £82 million in three Strength In Places Fund projects delivering in Scotland.

Digital Dairy Value-chain for South and West Scotland and Cumbria

The UK Government is investing £21 million in the Digital Dairy Value-chain covering South West Scotland and Cumbria.   The funding will support research and innovation at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Barony Campus in Dumfries. The region’s dairy industry is a major employer and every year produces 1.9 billion litres of milk.  Innovation using sensors and data will increase the value of the industry and make it more sustainable.

Living Laboratory for Precision Medicine

The UK Government is investing £38 million to create the Living Laboratory for Precision Medicine at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.  The facility brings together University of Glasgow, the NHS and world-leading companies to grow the region’s life sciences sector through medical innovation.  This could deliver savings for the NHS, improve patients’ health outcomes and drive economic development.

Smart Data Foundry

The UK Government is investing £23m in the Smart Data Foundry (formerly called the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence).  Based at the University of Edinburgh, it will build on the region’s strengths in financial services and financial technology by innovating using data.  This could help tackle the ‘poverty premium’ and enhance consumer protection through researching economic crime and data protection.

Glasgow Innovation Accelerator

The Glasgow City Region is one of three new ‘Innovation Accelerators’ sharing £100 million of UK Government funding.  The accelerator aims to replicate the highly successful Silicon Valley model, bringing together research and industry.  This will drive-up prosperity, create high-quality jobs, and bring in private sector investment to the region.

An Innovation Partnership, led by the private sector and including the region’s universities, research institutions and local government has developed proposals for the accelerator.  These proposals include:

  • Fusing a future from Glasgow’s Proud Heritage: will develop three large-scale manufacturing test-beds and train the next-generation of engineers.
  • ReMake Glasgow: will support manufacturers to embrace the circular economy and extend the life of their products and systems.
  • Data-driven design and manufacturing CoLAB: will provide manufacturers with advanced data analytics capability to make them more productive and competitive.
  • Stratellite: will develop a photonics manufacturing, engineering and testing facility.
  • Industrially-led quantum computing accelerator: will demonstrate the potential of a commercial quantum computing system.
  • Next Generation Remote-Sensing Technologies: will explore technologies like uncooled infra-red detectors, high-definition imagers and the latest laser sensing techniques.
  • Pilot Accelerator for National Institute for Quantum Integration: will aid the growth of the Scottish photonics and quantum cluster.
  • Modular Chemical Robot Farms for Chemistry: will develop a scalable pilot plant capable of becoming a chemical ‘giga factory’.
  • Risk Stratification Tool for Colorectal Polyp Surveillance: will develop a tool which will more accurately predict a patient’s risk of developing a future polyp.
  • The Centre of Innovation for Financial Regulation: will explore new technologies to accelerate regulatory efficiencies and revolutionise risk management.
  • Museums in the Metaverse: will create a two-sided Extended Reality (XR) Culture and Heritage platform that will empower online visitors to explore vast cultural assets in engaging new ways.

Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre

The UK Government is investing £28 million in the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Renfrewshire.  The centre will accelerate the development of a new generation of manufacturing processes for the pharmaceutical industry.  This will help companies to deliver medicines to patients with minimal waste and maximum speed.

It is forecast to generate £200 million in advanced technologies over the first 5 years and create over 100 high-value jobs.

The facility is a collaboration between UKRI, CPI, University of Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise and founding industry partners, AstraZeneca and GSK.  It is situated in a wider industrial campus called Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) next to Glasgow airport, which is supported by £55.6 million from the UK Government.

More information

Explore the work of UK Research and Innovation.

Get the latest from the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.

Find out more about levelling up in Scotland.