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University unveils plans for £89m technology and innovation centre

11/03/2011

  • First Minister welcomes proposals to create jobs, attract inward investment and forge new levels of collaboration between researchers and industry

A world-leading research and technology centre that will transform the way universities, business and industry collaborate to bring global competitive advantage to Scotland, will be launched today (11 March) at the University of Strathclyde.

The Technology and Innovation Centre at Strathclyde (TIC) will bring together 850 academics, researchers and project managers from the University and its leading industrial partners to work side-by-side in a state of the art building in the heart of Glasgow.

Together, they will find solutions to challenges in sectors central to economic regeneration in Scotland and further afield, including power and energy, photonics and sensors, advanced engineering, pharmaceutical manufacturing and bio-nano systems.

Developed with industry, for industry, the Technology and Innovation Centre is already attracting interest from major international companies, and its first partners include Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower and the Weir Group. At £89 million, the project is the University’s single-biggest investment in research capacity and has attracted financial backing from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.

TIC will be based at the heart of the city and will become the cornerstone of Scottish Enterprise’s new International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ) – a global economic hub to bring innovative businesses to Glasgow to sit alongside the University.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre is transformational project for Glasgow, building on Scotland’s great tradition of innovating new technologies and developments in fields including energy and engineering while creating and supporting hundreds of jobs. Through this collaboration, the aim is to double the scale of research programme investment in Scotland in areas key to economic growth by up to £150 million in five years.

“This pioneering £89m project will strengthen the University’s international reputation for research excellence by bringing together industry and academia to develop solutions to challenges in energy, renewable technologies, advanced engineering and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

“Scotland is recognised internationally for its immense contribution to shaping the modern world through innovation and research and the Scottish Government works with universities, research institutes and industry to ensure the country continues to be a competitive hotbed of ideas.

“And now, as an integral part of Scottish Enterprise’s new International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ) which aims to establish Glasgow as a premier location for inward investment into world-leading technology and renewables research and development, we have the potential to deliver huge economic and social benefits, not only in Scotland but internationally.

“The TIC project proves again that our Universities, Scotland’s Funding Council and Scotland’s enterprise agencies and Scotland’s industry are key drivers of innovation and competiveness in our energy sector and R&D support in Scotland.

“Today, I am delighted to be meeting the academics and industrialists who will drive this project forward - a project which was conceived by the Energy Advisory Board and which is being driven with the help of the University’s Principal Professor Jim McDonald. I applaud their ambitious approach to creating benefits for the economy and the city. Together, they will cement Glasgow’s reputation as a powerhouse for engineering, science and industry.

“This city and this country will engineer the technologies of the 21st century just as Glasgow once dominated marine engineering in the 19th century.”

Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “The Technology and Innovation Centre will help transform Glasgow and Scotland. By capitalising on our leading, industry-relevant research, TIC will attract millions of pounds of inward investment to the city, drive global businesses, create jobs, and support the development of our highly-qualified graduates and postgraduates.

“As a leading technological University, we are committed to sharing knowledge to address challenges that affect every area of society, including energy, health, manufacturing and economics. TIC will forge new levels of collaboration between researchers, the public and private sectors to accelerate the pace of research and development and deliver benefit to companies, the economy and Scotland.”

The University is in advanced discussions with a number of global companies and a large base of innovative small and medium businesses. Together, they aim to double the scale of research programme investment in Scotland in areas central to economic regeneration, including energy, advanced manufacturing and business, by up to £150 million over five years.

TIC will enable industry to rapidly develop research and technology, and access world-renowned academic groups, facilities and graduates from the University. The Centre will also support Scotland’s new International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone in attracting inward and indigenous investment to the city to co-locate with TIC.

ITREZ aims to establish Scotland as an internationally recognised location for research, development, design and engineering of offshore marine renewables and a range of associated enabling technologies and is expected to generate up to 700 new jobs and £100 million for the Scottish economy.

Design consultants have now been appointed and work on TIC’s high-spec building is expected to begin at the start of next year, with the official opening taking place in 2014. At 22,000 square metres, the landmark building will house specialist, shared and flexible laboratory facilities, enabling world-class researchers to respond to real problems in partnership with industry, government agencies and other organisations.

Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive, Lena Wilson, said: “Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre will be the cornerstone of Scotland’s International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone. Our vision for ITREZ is to provide a breeding ground for ambitious companies to harness cutting-edge research, access the best people and develop the products which will shape the renewable energy industry of tomorrow.

“Glasgow has already claimed a place on the renewables map attracting energy heavyweights and pioneers in the offshore wind sector and we believe that by establishing this zone we will help reinforce Scotland’s position as a location of choice for the rapidly expanding renewables industry.”

Mark Batho, Chief Executive of SFC said: “This is an inspiring project and I look forward to following the progress of the innovative ideas and products that will flow from the partnerships formed.

“There is, in Scotland, already a strong track record of universities and business working effectively together at the cutting edge of new ideas and new technologies. This new Technology and Innovation Centre builds on that experience and creates an environment in which new partnerships can develop with many opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of expertise and ideas. This will also be a great opportunity for Postgraduate research students to gain exposure to industry.”

Among TIC’s founding partners are Scottish and Southern Energy. Colin Hood, Chief Operating Officer, said: “As one of Scotland’s most important businesses, we value our long and successful partnership with the University of Strathclyde, and its world-class researchers. Together we can develop and bring in to being new technologies and services for our customers.

“The Technology and Innovation Centre opens doors to new avenues of research, to new possibilities and new levels of collaboration. It’s a fresh way of thinking that will bring benefits to Scotland as a whole.”

Global engineering company the Weir Group PLC, will create a dedicated facility, the Weir Advanced Research Centre, within TIC’s building. The news marks the launch of a new approach to innovation for Weir and is expected to provide a pipeline of new product innovation and significant improvements in existing product performance. Weir will also create four PhD studentships per year, underscoring its commitment to education and advancing engineering skills in the UK.

Keith Cochrane, Weir’s Chief Executive, said: “The University of Strathclyde is a leading technological university and Weir is delighted to be strengthening the long-standing partnership we have enjoyed with Strathclyde through the creation of the new centre.

“We are continually looking for ways to enhance our already strong reputation for superior products and materials, and this initiative will ensure we continue to bring breakthrough developments to our customers.”

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The Technology and Innovation Centre is another world class addition to Glasgow’s booming renewable energy industry. Our parent company Iberdrola recently established its global headquarters for offshore wind power in the City, and other major renewable energy companies have since followed.  The high standard of research and development that will be undertaken at TIC will only add to the City’s growing reputation as a leading renewable energy hub.

“We look forward to building on our excellent relationship with the University of Strathclyde and providing positive input towards the innovative work that will be carried out at TIC.”

For more information on TIC, visit www.strath.ac.uk/tic and for more on ITREZ, visit www.scottish-enterprise.com/itrez

Notes to Editors:

  • Capital funding build the Technology and Innovation Centre has been secured for £89m and the building is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013.  The Scottish Funding Council is contributing £15 million, Scottish Enterprise is contributing up to £11 million as part of the ITREZ project and the University is contributing £57m funding through its EIB loan facility. An ERDF capital application (£6.7m) has been submitted to the European Commission under the low carbon/sustainability programme for the remaining balance of capital and we are confident of a successful application.

  • An academic directorate has been formed to help drive and deliver the research, and ensure it is informed by Strathclyde’s international research links. TIC will focus on six research themes: Power & Energy; Sensors & Photonics; Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering; Advanced Science & Technology; Pharma, Nano-Science and Molecular Nanometrology; and Business & Education. In order to address major research challenges of the 21st Century, multidisciplinary teams are being brought together to combine the University’s strengths in engineering, science, business and the social sciences.

  • Since its foundation in 1796, the University’s vision as a ‘place of useful learning’ has led the way in connecting new ideas to the solution of problems facing society, and producing high quality graduates ready for leadership and the professions. Today, the University is recognised as one of the UK’s leading international technological universities, and prides itself on partnership with the public and private sectors. Its bold vision is to transform research, education and knowledge exchange to deliver useful learning for the technological age. More at www.strath.ac.uk

  • The University and partners are members of Sustainable Glasgow, a city-wide partnership to make Glasgow one of the most liveable and sustainable cities in Europe. It brings together partners from the public and private sectors and academia to work with citizens, communities and businesses. The city is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 30 per cent within 10 years and building a greener and more sustainable future for Glaswegians. The unparalleled strategic approach taken by Glasgow will help to create jobs and boost the economy, tackle social issues including fuel poverty and regenerate the city. For more information visit http://www.sustainableglasgow.org.uk/
     

Further information:

Kat Hannah
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Strathclyde
T: 0141 548 4123
M: 07967 796 503
E: kat.hannah@strath.ac.uk

Simon McMillan, Press Office, ScottishPower – 0141 566 4875

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