Boost for University plans for major innovation investment in Govan

Published: 21 March 2019

Precision Medicine and Enabling Technology projects show Glasgow leading the way

The University of Glasgow’s plans for an expansion of innovation activities in Govan received a significant boost today (Thursday, 21 March) with two projects through to the final stage of a major UK-wide funding stream.

As part of UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund (SIPF), the University’s plans for a Clyde Waterfront Innovation Campus - focussed on industries like nanofabrication for quantum technology and photonics as well as a Precision Medicine “Living Lab” - have received £100,000 of seedcorn funding to take the plans to the next stage. The Scottish Government is committed to working with the University to develop the business plan for the CWIC programme, as set out in last year’s Programme for Government.

The nanofabrication plans will see a range of new technologies co-locating industry and academia at what is currently a brownfield site – and would see around 450 jobs located in Govan.

The Precision Medicine “Living Lab” project will strengthen Glasgow's ecosystem by establishing new innovation pathways in a real-world clinical setting and a dedicated Health Innovation Hub that offers grow-on space and enabling "soft" infrastructures. This was identified as a major opportunity in both the University-led BEIS Science and Innovation Audit published earlier this month, as well as by a major summit of national and international experts brought together by the First Minister at Scotland’s Precision Medicine Summit last year.

The University is working closely with Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow City Region City Deal on masterplanning the projects, and will soon begin outreach to the local community in Govan.

The Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, said: “To have not one but two bids successfully through to the next stage of a very competitive funding stream is testament to the extraordinary strengths of the University and the City – and in areas like Precision Medicine alongside Quantum and Nano Technologies, we are truly leading the world.

“There is an immense potential to be tapped into in both of these fields at the University and growing links with innovative companies, both large and small. The possibility of combining both of these multi-billion pound industries in which Scotland enjoys competitive advantages at an innovation cluster of excellence in Govan is deeply exciting – creating unparalleled interactions between academia, industry and the health service.

“As Glasgow’s largest university, we have always been at the forefront of innovation and excellence in the city, and today’s news is the first major step in the development of what will become a thriving, multidisciplinary innovation area in Govan – creating jobs, helping to regenerate one of the City’s more deprived areas and making Glasgow and Scotland a world-leader in some of the most important emerging industries internationally.”

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences – Scotland’s leading expert on Precision Medicine – said: “Scotland has the real potential to lead the world in Precision Medicine – a field which could save billions for our NHS, contribute massively to economic growth and job-creation and lead to major improvements in public health.

“The Living Lab proposal in particular is deeply exciting, offering a game-changing opportunity to strengthen Glasgow’s Precision Medicine eco-system, embed R&D activities at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and further strengthen the relationships between academia, industry and the NHS – Scotland’s unique ‘triple-helix’ approach to Precision Medicine, which is our major competitive advantage in what is a multi-billion pound industry.

“This is a project of true local, national and international importance – contributing to the regeneration of Govan, cementing Scotland’s place as the world-leader in Precision Medicine and promising a genuine revolution in healthcare right across the world.”

Professor Miles Padgett, Vice Principal for Research, said: “Our vision is the creation of an internationally recognised high-technology cluster in Govan, generating innovation-driven, export-led, inclusive economic growth for Glasgow and further afield.

“Encompassing both physical infrastructure and investment in cutting edge research and innovation support, CWIC will enable co-location of high-quality academic and translational assets with cutting-edge industrial R&D teams supported by state-of-the-art facilities. The campus will be the ideal platform for skills development, outreach, collaborative research and development, entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The level of engagement we are already seeing from colleagues in industry, as well as the Glasgow City Government, Scottish Enterprise and other partners, is a testament to the incredible potential of this project – and gives us great confidence that CWIC will ensure Glasgow’s place as a world-leader in innovation for decades to come.”

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet, said: “This news is a welcome addition to all the investment that is taking place as the council and our partners work together to deliver the West End and Waterfront Innovation Quarter, stretching from the University of Glasgow to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The work being done to regenerate Govan, Water Row, the banks of the Clyde in this part of Glasgow and the forthcoming Partick-Govan Bridge is key to attracting and developing world-class innovation in this city quarter.“

First published: 21 March 2019