Initiative is a 'game changer'

Tech firms team up for ‘ground breaking’ R&D

Lena WilsonFour Scottish companies have unveiled a ground breaking collaboration with university engineers and Scottish Enterprise to develop a range of next-generation technologies.

The initiative, focusing on sensors and imaging systems used in devices such as infra-red cameras and asthma inhalers, is described as a “game changer” in Scottish research and development.

The companies  –  Cascade Technologies, Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global, Gas Sensing Solutions and Amethyst Research – will combine their expertise with electronics engineers at Glasgow University.

It is hoped that combined turnover for the businesses will top £135 million over the next 10 years, and cut their production costs by up to 50%.

The project aims to give the firms a critical competitive edge in the sensors market and deliver £56m to the Scottish economy.

Dr Lena Wilson (pictured), chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “This ground breaking project is further evidence of Scotland’s global competitiveness. The companies involved are great examples of the innovative supply chain in Scotland, highlighting why we continue to be an attractive location for technology manufacturing investment.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This project is an excellent example of how collaborative working can support the development of advanced manufacturing technologies, boosting productivity and driving growth. Innovation Centres have a unique role to play in engaging with businesses to identify new solutions and we would like to see more of these types of projects develop in the future.”

The project is supported with almost £6m in funding over the next three years, comprising £2.8m from the companies participating, £2.6m from Scottish Enterprise’s collaborative R&D support and £241,000 plus capital equipment provided by CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for sensors and imaging systems.

Ian Reid, chief executive at CENSIS, said: “This project will have a momentous impact on Scottish industry and is a game-changer for collaborative R&D.

“Not only will it underpin the development of Scotland’s sensors and imaging sector, which already accounts for £2.6 billion in annual revenues, but it will also provide the academic community with access to cutting edge technology; allowing further innovation and collaboration.

“Scotland has the potential to be at the forefront of the global sensors and imaging systems sector, and this project could make that a reality. We have the opportunity to innovate continually from the design and growth of the materials, right through to the wide variety of products which can be manufactured and their extensive applications.

“Collaboration between these companies and the academic community will put both of these groups at the forefront of global trends and in a unique position to access new markets, ultimately creating a globally competitive supply chain of businesses.”

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