February 2024 Director’s Blog

This month welcomes a further Innovation funding win for Glasgow City Region, building on our Innovation Accelerator Programme.

Six colleges across Glasgow City Region will each host a new innovation hub to support innovation in local businesses. The year-long College Local Innovation Centres (CLIC) pilot project, funded by the Innovate UK Further Education Innovation Fund, will help businesses across the Region gain access to support and guidance on embedding and embracing innovation within their organisations.

The CLIC initiative aligns to key ambitions and challenges set out within the Region’s Economic Strategy, in particular to address Productivity and to drive an economy founded on Innovation. The hubs will support businesses in several sectors including health, sustainability, and digital, with more than 200 local businesses anticipated to benefit from the project which starts at the end of March 2024.

A number of areas of progress were considered at this month’s Cabinet meeting, including discussions underway with Government on additional powers and funding for the Region.

Glasgow City Region is already a Scottish Government Programme for Government pilot for further regional devolution. I have mentioned before the work underway to ensure we have a Skills system fit for the future.

The Region has also been asked to participate in a 12-month UK Government Scotland Office led review of the City Deal model and broader UK Government investment in Scotland, the aim to understand what works in terms of local and regional economic growth and to consider evidenced impacts. The review will provide the basis for scoping future economic growth funding interventions from the UK Government.

Cabinet also heard an update on Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging.

The use of electric vehicles is projected to continue to rise significantly over the coming years. And work is progressing well on our plans to support a significant expansion of the public electric vehicle charging network across the Region. 

Cabinet endorsed a proposal to collaborate across all our eight local councils which could dramatically increase the number of charging points installed on council owned land and assets.

Over the next few months, we will invite the each of the councils to approve the proposal and we will develop our joint offer to engage a commercial partner to work with us deliver the expansion of the charging network we want for our residents and businesses.

By collaborating across the Region, we can make savings on development costs, and support the creation of a network that is accessible to all our residents, ensuring that people are able to charge their cars close to their homes.

Last year we undertook an exercise to help us understand the market demand from the commercial Charge Point Operators and their appetite for working with us to expand our charging network.  We were pleased with the positive and enthusiastic response. To support the uptake in electric vehicles, there will need to be a step change in the EV charging network. By collaborating across our eight local councils, we can drive forward an accessible charging network that supports residents and businesses and make a major contribution towards our Net Zero targets.

Earlier this month our local councils joined forces to promote the Multiply123 numeracy programme – hundreds of funded courses and activities to support adults who struggle with numbers, free to residents and available across the Region’s eight council areas.

A dedicated Region-wide website and telephone helpline was launched to connect adults with Multiply support in their local council area.

The next phase of work will involve engaging with key agencies and organisations to seek support in promoting the campaign, with a number of key members of the Region’s Anchor Network already committed to supporting the campaign, including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire, Blue Triangle Housing Association and SPEN.

Finally, we are just about a month away from for the closing date for the Open Call for project funding bids for our Investment Zone and I would encourage applications from eligible ambitious local projects.

View all of our Director’s Blogs here.