News

£11.6 million for university research and innovation

Published: 25 Jun 2018 00:01

Extra support to encourage partnerships with industry.

Scottish universities are getting a funding boost to help them compete for research projects together with industry partners.

The Scottish Government is increasing its grant funding for university research and innovation by £11.6 million in 2018/19, bringing the total to £296.2 million.

The extra financial support is intended to strengthen the competitiveness of Scottish universities and their industry partners when bidding for UK-wide funding pots.

Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Our world-leading university research sector is one of this country’s great strengths and that is why are supporting it this year with close to £300 million of investment.

“Encouraging and strengthening partnerships with industry is vital - it means that, where research leads to real innovation, the Scottish economy benefits too.

“This extra grant will increase the competitiveness of research teams from Scottish universities when they are bidding for UK-wide funding together with industry partners. It is important we secure as much of this investment in Scotland as possible, especially given the uncertainty our research and innovation sector is facing as a result of the Brexit vote.”

The Scottish Funding Council will allocate the funding to individual institutions.

Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council, said:

“The research carried out in Scotland’s universities is world–leading and impacts on every aspect of our world, from the apps on our smartphones to the treatment of patients in hospital. We want to continue to grow our economy and get the very best for Scotland’s people through the application of new knowledge in our daily lives.

“The additional investment in research and innovation announced today will help us to do that, in partnership with Scottish businesses and UK-wide funding opportunities.”

Background

The top up funding will be allocated in 2018/19, through increases (initially for this year only) in the existing Research Excellence Grant and University Innovation Fund with the expectation that it will be specifically used for research and innovation partnerships with industry, for instance to bid jointly for further competitive funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Recent examples of research and innovation within Scottish universities show the wider societal benefits of the sector:

How aspirin may block bowel tumour formation  - Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shed light on how taking aspirin can help to prevent bowel cancer. They found that the painkiller blocks a key process linked to tumour formation. The researchers say the study paves the way for the development of new, safer therapies that mimic aspirin’s effects.

University scientists in ground-breaking environmental project - Heriot-Watt University researchers have been involved in a ground-breaking environmental project, pioneered by the whiskey producer Glenmorangie, which has seen Native European oysters reintroduced to coastal waters around the distillery after a century's absence. This pioneering reef restoration project in the Dornoch Firth has the ambition to be an example that could be replicated in other parts of the world.

Walking on sunshine: The pavements that generate solar energy - An international team, led from Glasgow Caledonian University, is creating pavements that gather energy from the sun. The idea has won an award from the Qatar World Cup 2022 organising committee which are backing the project to create a prototype with the aim of demonstrating a full solar pavement during the tournament. The tiles are simple to make and can handle the high temperatures of the Gulf region thanks to an innovative cooling system. Their eco-friendly attributes include not only the solar power they produce but also the fact they are made from recycled materials which can be recycled once again.

Smoke alarm research may help to save children’s lives - Researchers from the University of Dundee are conducting vital research aimed at protecting our children in the event of fire. Research has shown that children respond to different tones and frequencies of alarm than adults and that boys and girls are wakened by a different combination of sounds. A new smoke alarm sound aimed specifically at waking children is now being trialled.