Scottish Inward Investment Support Boosted by £100,000 for Business-Academic Collaborations

The Inward Investment Catalyst Fund from Chamber member Interface and the Scottish Government is aimed at attracting businesses out with Scotland, through developing partnerships with universities, research institutes, colleges and innovation centres.

Funding of up to £10,000 will be awarded to successful applications in this round, with a further competitive call expected later in the year.

Since its launch in 2021, the Inward Investment Catalyst Fund has awarded £250,000 to 25 projects from energy transition and the decarbonisation of transport to health tech, and from companies headquartered as far afield as South Africa, Singapore and the United States. Engagement has led to further opportunities with facilities such as the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment enhancing the Inward Investment proposition.

As a result, four companies now have a presence in Scotland and many have engaged in longer-term collaborations with academic institutions, including a number of PhD Studentships and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.  

Minister for Employment and Investment Tom Arthur said: “Attracting inward investment is a key lever to driving economic growth and creating high quality jobs. Scotland has established itself as the top performing part of the UK for attracting investment outside London, and I am determined that we continue to maintain this momentum.

“Our universities and academics have a vital role in helping to grow Scotland’s economy and the Inward Investment Catalyst Fund has encouraged strong collaboration between prospective investors and our world-class academic institutions. I look forward to this year’s catalyst funding helping to develop more academic-business collaborations and new opportunities that could lead to prospective investors setting up operations in Scotland.”

A previous recipient of the fund, Smartify, worked with the University of the West of Scotland to develop their app for the arts, culture and heritage sectors.

Thanos Kokkiniotis, Smartify CEO, said: “Our project, funded through the Inward Investment Catalyst Fund, was a unique opportunity to combine innovation seed funding with academic expertise and commercial traction in a way that rarely happens. The University of the West of Scotland Creative Computing Technologies Research Group allowed us to develop and maintain a healthy balance between commercial objectives, tech capabilities and expertise, building in a way we were never able to do before, and we now have an office and a team in Scotland.”

Howell Davies, Interface’s Head of Strategic Programmes and Funding, added: “As well as the expected outcomes we are seeing from the initial business – academic projects, many have led to broader relationships and access to support strengthening the case for companies to establish a base here in Scotland, as Smartify has achieved.”

The deadline for applications is Friday 26 July, 2024. More information can be found here.

Read more about the app development between Smartify and the University of the West of Scotland here.

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