National innovation strategy 2023 to 2033

Our vision is for Scotland to be one of the most innovative small nations in the world. This is our ten-year strategy to deliver that ambition. Innovation is a key tool to make Scotland a fairer, more equal, wealthier and greener country.

13. Glossary Of Terms



Adoption and Diffusion

Adoption refers to the use of an already existing style of innovation by an organisation. Diffusion is a measure of the rate of adoption of Innovation.


Business enterprise expenditure on R&D (BERD) is the measure of R&D expenditures within the business enterprise sector during a specific reference period.


Commercialisation refers to the act of turning an idea into commercial products or services.


GCIP is an investment driven recovery plan that emphasizes the importance of Private Capital Investment and is one of three pillars focused on internationalising the Scottish Economy along with the Export Growth Plan and the Inward Investment Plan.


Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) is the total expenditure on higher education research and development in Scotland. HERD is a sub-category of total Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) in Scotland, which also includes Business Enterprise Research and Development (BERD), Government Research and Development (GoveRD) and Private Non-Profit Research and Development (PNP).


Innovation is the process of creating something new or improving upon something that exists already. It can be a new product or service or process that increases efficiency, improve quality, or create new value for customers. It can happen in a variety of forms, from incremental changes to radical breakthroughs and can be driven by advancements in technology and changes in regulation/policies.

Innovation Clusters

Clusters are more productive than other parts of the economy, they drive innovative behaviours and help to attract investment and talent. When interconnected business, suppliers, universities and research organisations work and operate together they can grow and gain a competitive advantage over other places.

Inward Investment Plan

Scotland's Inward Investment Plan sets out our ambition for Scotland as a leading destination for inward investment aligned with our values as a nation.

Investor Mindset

Having an investor mindset is a mental approach that prioritises careful analysis and planning in making important investment decisions. It involves understanding and managing risk and having clear goals.

Knowledge Exchange

This is the process that academic researchers, staff and other communities use to increase the rate of research. This process encourages these parties to share new ideas and areas of expertise between each other.


NESTA is an innovation foundation based in the UK, that promotes innovation across a wide range of industries through programs, investments, policy and research.

Net Zero

Net zero is a target of completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, to be achieved by reducing emissions and using methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET) sets out the priorities for Scotland's economy as well as the actions needed to maximise the opportunities of the next decade to achieve our vision of a wellbeing economy.

Pre Seed

Pre-seed is the funding that helps create a business's new product and find the right product-market fit.

Primary Innovation Pipeline

Primary Innovation Pipeline refers to the stages and processes through which a company generates and develops new products, services or ideas. It starts with having an idea, followed by research and development, testing and commercialisation.

Private Sector Investment

Private sector investment is the process of investing in a business that are privately owned and not publicly traded.

Public Sector Investment

Public Sector Investment refers to the investment of funds in to publicly traded organisations such as Educational institutions, Healthcare facilities and Transportation.


Research and development (R&D) defines the action that organisations undertake to innovate. This is usually the first step an organisation will take in the innovation process.


Seed funding is there to assist the growth of a new product through market research and product development.

Scotland's Innovation Ecosystem

An innovation ecosystem is made up of a large and diverse range of resources and participants – from the public sector, private sector, academia and regional communities – that contribute to co-creating valued goods and services through innovation.


Small and Medium sized Enterprises that traditionally consist of no more than 500 employees.


A spin-out is when an already existing business splits up the parts within itself to create a new company or area focused an a specific line of work.


A start-up refers to a completely new business that want to bring new ideas to a market and create innovative products and services.


Review of the Scottish tech ecosystem by Mark Logan, commissioned by the Scottish Government, with recommendations on how to develop a world-class tech sector.

Systems Approach

A systems approach is a method of analysing and designing complex systems that takes into account all elements and their interactions to produce a desired outcome. It considers the system as a whole and its parts, focusing on how they work together to achieve goals.

Tech Scalers

Tech scalers combine best practice in incubation, intensive founder education in Internet Economy best practice, ecosystem social infrastructure, and integrated funding. Access to all services will be provided both physically and in a fully-virtualised form, enabling country-wide participation in Scotland's high-technology economy.


Email: Innovation@Gov.Scot

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