Innovation hub

Glasgow chosen for ‘Silicon Valley style’ accelerator

Glasgow will host one of the new innovation hubs (pic: Terry Murden)

Glasgow has been allocated funding to build a Silicon Valley style hub after being chosen to become one of three ‘innovation accelerators’ as part of the UK government’s plans to “level up” the country.

Backed by £100 million of taxpayer support, the “accelerator” centres – the others are in Manchester and the Midlands – will focus on research and development,

Details of the plan are contained in a white paper issued by Cabinet minister Michael Gove who urged the first ministers of the devolved nations to work with the UK government. He said: “We will only succeed if all layers of government – UK, devolved, and local – work together.”

The proposed Glasgow research facility will be based in the city centre, propagating innovation, research, and development that “will drive-up prosperity and opportunity for local people”.

Plans for the centre are said to be “inspired by the Stanford-Silicon Valley and MIT-Greater Boston models of combining excellent research with cutting-edge industry in a city-region”.

Dr Joe Marshall, chief executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business, said: “Today’s White Paper recognises that our research base will be a key building block to drive real change across the UK.”

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “The announcement comes as an appropriate acknowledgement of the sheer scale and quality of both our academic research and the relationships that have been built with industry. 

“Valuable initiatives that could be accelerated include Glasgow’s three innovation districts, led by the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, that are helping to develop our prowess in engineering, advanced manufacturing and the health and life sciences. We stand ready to help the city partners in making funding bids.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Initiatives such as the Glasgow City region becoming an Innovation Accelerator, unlocking access to a share of £100m of new funding, will help Scotland continue its vital role in keeping the UK at the forefront of global science and research.”

He added: “Thanks to locally led partnerships working closely with the UK Government, the region will become a major innovation cluster delivering high end jobs.”

The Scottish Government welcomed the programme but added that UK ministers should not make spending decisions about devolved areas without “meaningful consultation or engagement.”

Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said: “The government’s levelling up proposals consist of a shuffling of the deck chairs –  more slogans and strategies, with few new ideas.”

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