The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is to build on its £100million investment in Innovation Centres to transform collaborations between businesses and universities and support Scotland’s future economic growth.
A further £4 million is being invested to set up Innovation Scotland, an initiative that involves SFC, Universities Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Innovation Scotland will make it more straightforward for growing businesses to create and exploit collaborations with world-leading researchers at Scotland’s universities.
Innovation Scotland will address the challenge of making these partnerships happen more easily and more frequently. A key focus for its work will be to remove more of the barriers that stop businesses adopting and marketing ideas developed in universities.
John McClelland, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council said: “This is one of the most significant investments the Scottish Funding Council has made because it has enormous potential to transform universities’ contribution to the Scottish economy.”
“Universities already do a huge amount of work in this area but there are still barriers to be removed. The reward for getting it right will be an increase in the amount and the quality of collaborations between business and universities which, in turn, will lead to new products, new services, new jobs and greater prosperity for Scotland.”
Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning said: "Our universities already have a great reputation for excellence in Scotland and around the world. Recent years have seen an increase in academic research being used to help our businesses to grow and compete.”
"Innovation Scotland brings people and resources together in a new way to help build on this progress and further improve the links between universities and businesses, boosting our universities, helping Scottish companies and delivering a brighter future for our economy."
Innovation Scotland will begin its work by establishing a forum to improve university business support, providing additional support for the university-business knowledge connection agency Interface and funding a project that aims to create 90 new high growth companies.
The investment was announced at a launch held at Aquamarine Power in Edinburgh, a marine renewable company that has worked with several Scottish universities to develop its pioneering new technologies.