Europe’s future is connected to its power to innovate, it is widely accepted across Europe that investments in research and innovation are essential to drive long-term growth. Europe is spending 0.8% of GDP less than the US and 1.5% less than Japan every year on Research & Development (R&D). This trend is also present in Scotland. Business expenditure on R&D and total expenditure on R&D in Scotland, as a share of GDP, are both below the EU and OECD averages.
To overcome this challenge it is essential that all partners in Scotland work together to build on the natural strengths of our world-class researchers, entrepreneurs and companies and support them to particulate fully on the European and International stage.
The Scottish Government will continue to work with partners to improve conditions and access to finance for research and innovation. This will include making sure that support and advice is available to; support funding bids, increase collaborations, identify partners and share expertise with our European partners in key areas of innovation specialisation.
European Structural and Investment Funds have a particular role to play in supporting the services our Innovation Centres offer, supporting SME’s to engage with them for example, through Interface, an advice service which will connect an individual business with the specialised academic skills it requires.
With the range of agencies involved, this work provides a strong link to Horizon 2020 funds; and allows the agencies to act in concert to promote innovation within businesses, link the funding options at different stages of innovation and product development, and support SME’s to access the centres of excellence and partnerships between academia and business required to make the most of Scotland’s existing research base and skills.
Scotland has a particular ambition to increase the number of SME’s engaging with and accessing Horizon 2020 funding through this more integrated approach over the 2014-20 programme period.