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Scotland: The hotbed of STEM innovation

by AprilSix Proof

Scotland has recently been in the public spotlight for a host of political reasons – the referendum, the rise in popularity of the Scottish National Party and most recently its role in the General Election. But, while the political controversy rages on, we have noticed that Scotland’s extremely successful science and innovation programmes are being overlooked.

Scotland is home to over five million people, accounting for roughly 8% of the UK population – a significant part of our economy, culture and resources. With three of its nineteen universities in the list of top universities under 150 years old and many others ranking high in other worldwide lists, Scotland can safely claim to have great education institutes. It also provides some of the UK’s top exports in food and drink accumulating a whopping £12.8bn a year. This is in large part from their booming salmon industry and let’s not forget about their ancient whisky industry, which brings in over £5bn a year.

It’s no wonder these figures are on the increase, as, in recent years major cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow have become bedrocks for innovation and business. In 2013, the Scottish Government announced its plans to launch several innovation centres – hubs which bring together academia, industry and government in order to progress areas of innovation more creatively and efficiently. There are now eight centres that focus on Scotland’s strongest research and resource outputs and they include: The Data Lab, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, Digital Health Institute, Stratified Medicine Scotland, Oil & Gas Industry Centre, Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre and Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre. At Proof, we feel extremely proud and fortunate to be working with the latter two of these centres.

Elsewhere in Scotland the signs of growth are also apparent. Last week the Proof team attended the All Energy conference in Glasgow, a show that brings together renewable industry professionals from around the world. As the host country, Scotland had an unsurprisingly strong presence throughout the event, but what was interesting to see was how popular and busy the education institutes were during the two day conference. Companies were talking genuinely about collaborative projects and how university facilities could be used to further business growth. From my experience, this rarely seen in environments like this.

Scotland stand

This forward-thinking is also reflected in the Scottish cyber-technology space. Last week Police Scotland announced a new £1.5m hub in Edinburgh to tackle the growth in cyber crime. It won’t be the only one either, there are plans for other hubs to be created in the west and north of Scotland. Not only increasing cyber-intelligence, the hubs will also increase jobs as they will be staffed by civilian experts who will work alongside detectives.

The support for STEM innovation is high in Scotland and this commitment is starting to show a snowball of results as each innovation centre and their many projects get underway. It’s clear to me that over the next couple of years, this part of Great Britain will be an area to watch for STEM innovation. And we’re looking forward to being part of it through the work we do with our Scottish clients and partners.

My name is Bryony and I am the Account Manager for both the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre. If you have any questions or comments, please email me at: