Glasgow City Region launches a new action plan to elevate the innovation economy

Scotland’s CAN DO Innovation Summit formed the backdrop for the launch of a new Innovation Action Plan for the Region.

Glasgow City Region Cabinet Chair and Leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken was joined by Chief Executive Officer of Innovate UK Indro Mukerjee and Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive Adrian Gillespie at Glasgow Science Centre today (7 November) to launch Glasgow City Region’s new Innovation Action Plan.

Susan Aitken said:

“Metropolitan Glasgow is already recognised as an innovation hub of international standing, a City Region forging a dynamic and diverse new economy.

“The Action Plan builds on our existing strengths and assets, allowing partners across all tiers of government, academia and industry to nurture a world-leading culture of creativity and invention.

“It’s a huge opportunity to generate the employment, training and productivity outcomes our citizens need and our economy demands, the start of a new phase in our journey to become the most productive, innovative and resilient economy across these islands by 2030.”

Building on the Innovation Accelerator programme, the plan is underpinned by key contributions which have directly shaped the priorities and actions within the plan.

An extensive research exercise by the Region’s Intelligence Hub has identified the clusters and sectors within the local innovation economy where there is competitive advantage, which offer the highest potential for growth and opportunity for investment – and effectively where focus will be placed. Additionally, the document was developed in consultation with 120 senior stakeholders from business, academia, the third sector, the investor community and local and national government.

The Innovation Plan has been co-authored by Glasgow City Region, Innovate UK and Scottish Enterprise. Together with key stakeholders, the partnership approach will be instrumental to the delivery of the 34 actions and to elevating the promotion of the Region’s innovation offer at a national and global level.

Innovate UK Chief Executive Officer Indro Mukerjee said:

“As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK is focused on building strong partnerships across the UK to support innovation and drive economic growth.

“I am pleased to launch our collaborative innovation action plan, which is the result of a strong and close partnership with Glasgow City Region and Scottish Enterprise. It is a significant opportunity to build stronger links with Scottish regions, giving businesses greater access to our innovation ecosystem, helping them grow and succeed.”

Since 2020, Scottish Enterprise has supported businesses in Glasgow City Region with £195 million of grant support and collaborated with Regional partners on the innovative place agenda with the establishment of the Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) at the University of Strathclyde.

Glasgow’s innovation districts have also been supported from initial development to delivery with £92 million of Scottish Enterprise funding in addition to funding and advice to circa 450 businesses from high-growth start-ups, SMEs and larger companies on activities from export to sustainable manufacturing.

Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Adrian Gillespie said: “Our collaboration with Innovate UK means business support that’s easier to access and navigate. Companies will also benefit from our greater combined focus on place-based innovation support for stronger innovation infrastructure, clusters and regions throughout Scotland.

“This will start in Glasgow City Region with the Innovation Action Plan, but the impact will be felt much wider, across Scotland’s unique assets and hubs – from energy transition in Aberdeen to tech clusters in Edinburgh.”

“Working alongside Innovate UK and local authorities allows us to work smarter on transformational projects in future industries that create jobs, wellbeing and prosperity.”

The Glasgow City Region Action Plan covers six major themes: an Inclusive Economy, Skills, Ecosystem, Identity, Investment and Infrastructure.

Specific activities include the establishment of innovation fellowships, entrepreneurial campuses and the creation of an investor roadmap to make it easier for key investors to see Glasgow’s assets that will complement an agreement from partners to work more closely to enhance the Region’s identity.

The plan is a key deliverable in the Region’s Economic Strategy, addressing the productivity challenge through innovation, raising levels of Research and Development spend, drawing greater private investment, generating new businesses and promoting faster growth in key sectors.

The plan was launched at the annual CAN DO Innovation Summit at Glasgow’s Science Centre. Over 1,000 delegates were in attendance from start-ups, small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to innovators and academics hearing from 50 speakers on a range of topics with a particular focus on artificial intelligence.

The summit also included a raft of business leaders from Scotland’s growing innovation clusters such as health tech, advanced manufacturing and the digital creative industries with prominent female tech leaders from the world of fashion and fintech delivering insightful speeches and highlighting the diversity of the industry.

Susie Mitchell, programme director, Glasgow City of Science and Innovation, the lead agency for the innovation summit, said:

“The CAN DO Innovation Summit exists to inspire SMEs to adopt productivity-boosting tech, and find the right support to enable their innovation journey.

“As we gathered top talent and pioneering businesses from all over Scotland and beyond, we were delighted to provide a dynamic backdrop to discuss the new Innovation Action Plan for Glasgow City Region as well as the MOU – key developments underpinned by concerted action to unlock breakthrough innovation and achieve true competitive advantage in Scotland’s existing and emerging clusters of strength for the benefit of people and place.”

Read our Director’s Blog on the Action Plan and what it means for the Region.