Glasgow’s Innovation Accelerator moves forward with share of £100m project boost

Six ambitious new projects linked to the University of Glasgow are set to share in a major new investment from the UK Government Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. 
 
A total of 11 projects in and around the city will receive support from the Glasgow City Region’s share of £100 million Levelling Up money, announced in yesterday’s Budget, to further accelerate the Region’s booming innovation economy. 
 
A local partnership of business, public sector and academic institutions led on selecting the project proposals to go forward, working closely with Innovate UK. 

Glasgow’s Innovation Accelerator (IA) projects will address local economic challenges as well as national and global societal and environmental issues.  
 
With the project selection phase now completed, the IA Programme projects will formally commence this Spring.  
 
Uzma Khan, Vice Principal - Economic Development and Innovation at the University of Glasgow, said: “I’m delighted that the UK Government has chosen to invest in Glasgow to support innovation and R&D. A significant amount of this investment will be linked to the University of Glasgow.  

“It’s a hugely exciting development for Glasgow City Region and one which will catalyse further research, development and innovation in our key sectors delivering benefits for the whole region and our communities.  

“Through the Glasgow Riverside Innovation District, this significant investment will draw on the University of Glasgow’s world-leading research, global reach and strong civic mission to make Glasgow one of the most innovative economies in the UK.  

“By working in close partnership with industry, government, academia and our communities, we will ensure that we create the jobs, wealth and the skills pipeline needed to create productive and thriving places.” 
  
The pilot UK Innovation Accelerator Programme will provide funding shared across three UK city regions to support a range of transformative Research and Development projects and accelerate the growth of the three high-potential innovation clusters around Glasgow, Manchester and West Midlands. 

Further details on the programme and projects will be released in due course.  
 
The six projects linked to the University of Glasgow are:  
 
Next Generation Remote-Sensing Technologies: This project aims to explore the viability of new technologies in uncooled infra-red detectors, novel edge processed high-definition imagers and the latest laser sensing techniques. These early-stage technologies hold the potential of being developed, matured and integrated into a new generation of world class remote sensing equipment. 
 
Future products derived from these technologies could become significant disruptors, allowing world class systems to be produced to meet emerging capability requirements identified for military, medical diagnostic, energy monitoring, net-zero, security and surveillance applications. They are estimated to be worth an anticipated £40m in the UK market and £120m from exports over a decade. 
 
Pilot Accelerator for National Institute for Quantum Integration: Huge growth is predicted for the photonics and quantum markets in coming decades. This project aims to build an engineering capability, led by the University of Glasgow’s James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC), that will aid the growth of the Scottish photonics and quantum cluster. It will appoint design, test and manufacturing engineers to build on the embedded expertise and skill of the JWNC and senior University of Glasgow researchers, and enable industry to deliver innovative products that open up new markets. 
 
Ultimately, it will act as a model for the University’s proposed National Institute of Quantum Integration (NiQi). NiQi would act as a front door for global industry to engage with UK quantum expertise and position Glasgow as a world leader in quantum technology, serving as a beacon for further inward investment into the region. 
 
Modular Chemical Robot Farms for Chemistry: Chemify Ltd., a new University of Glasgow spin out with more than 25 employees, is developing the automated technology of chemputation: universal chemical synthesis controlled by computers.  
 
Chemify plans to expand to more than 100 people as it begins research and development to build a prototype of a scalable pilot plant capable of becoming a chemical 'giga factory' for the on demand discovery and manufacture of trillions of chemicals on demand for use in pharmaceuticals, high value chemical manufacturing, new materials, farming, and green energy solutions. 
 
Risk Stratification Tool for Colorectal Polyp Surveillance: Bowel screening is used to find bowel cancer and pre-cancerous lesions called polyps in patients without symptoms. The aim of screening is both to catch bowel cancers early and to prevent cancers by removing pre-cancerous polyps.  
 
This project is part of the INCISE collaboration, which aims to develop a tool which will more accurately predict a patient’s risk of developing a future polyp, and therefore the need for a colonoscopy, using the latest advances in artificial intelligence, sequencing, and pathology. This new tool will reduce the number of people needing repeated colonoscopy, reducing unpleasant experiences and complications, improving access to colonoscopy by reducing surveillance lists, and reducing costs to the NHS, while maintaining a safe follow up regime for patients. 
 
The Centre of Innovation for Financial Regulation: The FinTech Scotland initiative, in partnership with industry partners, Strathclyde and Glasgow universities, includes the creation of a new collaborative centre of excellence, focused on innovation in financial regulation.  
 
The work will explore new technologies to accelerate regulatory efficiencies, revolutionise risk management and shape future financial regulatory developments. 

Museums in the Metaverse: The Museums in the Metaverse project will create a ground-breaking two-sided Extended Reality (XR) Culture and Heritage platform. It will empower online visitors to explore vast cultural assets in engaging new ways; enable novice and expert curators to create new content; and explore models of use to support sustainable economic and cultural growth. 

The project will harness the University of Glasgow's global reputation for research in digital cultural heritage and XR, together with key cultural heritage and immersive technology partners, to develop an innovative solution to constraints that can limit physical exhibitions to less than 10% of the objects held in collections, and limit audience reach by cost, distance, and accessibility. One side of the proposed platform is for visitors who gain access to a rich array of museums, sites, objects, and novel and dynamic experiences. The other is for virtual curators, where experts and novices alike can build enriching and entertaining narratives using objects and virtual environments that have never before been placed together in the real world.


First published: 16 March 2023