1 Collaboration and networks
Pulling together as one modern, dynamic and integrated manufacturing community is crucial to building our capability here in Scotland as well as being more outwardly focused on new sources of business, innovation and investment. Partnerships and collaborations are an increasingly important way of effecting change with greater ease and speed.
We need to promote collaboration across the sector in Scotland and beyond, build networks to support the sharing of knowledge, ideas, capability and best practice, and connect companies with strong propositions into relevant investment networks. This requires mechanisms for faster, better, digitally-led exchanges across industry with appropriate support from the public sector and academia. The goal is to form clusters around the best opportunities for Scottish manufacturing and stronger supply chain competitiveness.
While collaborative and open innovation often delivers cutting-edge research and development, there are many other ways companies can work together, for example by sharing equipment, facilities, contacts and expertise. This is particularly important for smaller companies.
Collaboration is also critical to our low carbon ambitions. The net zero manufacturing we are working towards requires upfront capital investment to upgrade premises and equipment over time but costs can be reduced through clustering and economies of scale.
This is a great opportunity to attract investment into Scotland. To bridge this gap, companies are working to develop better-evidenced business cases and investors are deepening their understanding of the manufacturing industry so they can accurately appraise the risks and opportunities over the long-term. There is also an opportunity to work collaboratively to promote Scottish low carbon strengths, including through our trade and investment levers and raising Scotland’s profile at international events including COP26 in November 2021.
Linda Hanna, Interim CEO, Scottish Enterprise
“The recovery plan for manufacturing brings together industry, the public sector and academia to focus on future skills, transformation and growth, and goes beyond recovery to lead a manufacturing renaissance that is sustainable in every sense.
“The adaptability of the industry was clear to see as it rose to the challenges of COVID-19 by changing working practices, producing PPE and maintaining essential supplies, highlighting just how resilient the sector is.
“What is important is that Scotland has an outward and forward-looking, innovative manufacturing sector. A sector where collaboration and talent are key, where there are future trade, investment and supply chain opportunities, and where manufacturing and the valuable jobs it supports are at the heart of the Scottish economy.”
- Develop a manufacturing ‘network of networks’ to pool and coordinate the resources of the variety of public and private networks already in operation. As well as improving impact and alignment during a time of rapid change, it will help to raise awareness of Scottish manufacturing and help with the development of new relationships between the Scottish manufacturing community and other UK and international stakeholders.
- Build a programme of activity designed to stimulate demand for investment in manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the development of stronger business cases. This will involve a Manufacturing Investment Forum for bringing the manufacturing and investment communities together. It will also involve the more widespread promotion of tools and resources available to help SMEs win external funding.
- Develop a manufacturing start up accelerator facility in Scotland drawing on international best practice and linking with Scotland’s wider entrepreneurial system. This will cater for the fact that manufacturing companies can have significant early stage capital investment requirements.
- Build a programme of activity to increase the use of external funding by Scottish manufacturing, including City and Growth Deals, UK Sector Deals, UK Industrial Strategy funds and other competitions. This will involve shaping and raising awareness of new opportunities at the UK level, increasing participation from industry in Scotland and influencing the success of bids.
- Promote collaboration between companies around sharing resources, costs and risks, including bidding jointly for contracts, sharing facilities and equipment, and joint approaches to exporting and marketing. This will involve the consideration of cooperative business models.
- Build a programme of international collaborations, leading to increased levels of manufacturing-related research funding and international trade and investment.
Japan-Scotland partnership delivers £20m investment in subsea innovation
Subsea is an area where Scotland has developed a world-class capability, driven by the needs of the North Sea oil and gas industry.
As the North Sea fields decline, the Scottish subsea industry is increasingly looking to international markets for growth.
Recognising this, Scottish Enterprise and Subsea UK developed a strong relationship with key subsea actors in Japan and developed the Japan-Scotland Subsea Partnership.
Over £20 million is being invested in collaborative innovation projects which will help both Scottish and Japanese companies to work and grow together in the coming years.
Twelve Scottish businesses from Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh, Coatbridge and Livingston will partner with Japanese firms on six projects.
These include: an £8.3 million project to develop an offshore and subsea ‘internet of things’ infrastructure; and a £3.3 million venture to build a digital system which monitors floating structures.
Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of the Nippon Foundation, which ran a competitive research and development fund with Scottish Enterprise, said:
“These projects will promote multisectoral collaboration, global partnerships and develop the new ocean development market.’’