Glasgow's universities are set to play a key role in a £60 million science development that will potentially bring 3,000 new jobs to the city in the next five years, writes Olga Wojtas.
Henry McLeish, Scotland's minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, has unveiled plans for a science and technology quarter in Glasgow's Merchant City, using a 50,000m sq site owned by Strathclyde University that has lain derelict for decades.
The plan aims to attract firms from high-tech fields such as software development, e-business, optoelectronics, advanced engineering and life sciences.
The project will include new housing, shops and leisure facilities, allowing people to live and work locally. Strathclyde is selling the site to Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, and the private sector will meet the full £60 million development cost.
Colin Suckling, Strathclyde's vice-principal, said: "This is in an academic and residential precinct. It will be a lifestyle development, where the vibrancy of the city centre overlaps with the workplace, which overlaps with the campus."
But Professor Suckling stressed that Strathclyde would not be alone in providing expertise in disciplines such as biotechnology, IT and photonics. No single higher education institution had "everything it takes", he said.
"Fluid groupings will come together to provide what is needed to have the right economic impact," he said. Strathclyde and Glasgow universities already collaborate through the innovative "Synergy" strategy to pool their research expertise.
A Glasgow University spokesman said: "We welcome this initiative, which will be a further opportunity for the university, with its international-strength research base, to work with others in developing the local and Scottish economies."