Scots explore foreign ideas for industry initiative

May 17, 1996

Academics and industrialists are joining together in a bid to make Scotland a European leader in commercialising research in science and technology.

Both sectors have given broad support to a draft strategy from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise, which they believe could lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs. The final draft is expected to be published in the summer.

Around 100 delegates, a third from industry and commerce, took part in a forum to discuss the confidential draft, where there was considerable interest in investigating whether successful overseas schemes could be adapted to meet Scotland's needs.

These include the Danish "scouting" system, in which a central agency seeks out higher education research that may have a commercial application. This identifies between 60 and 70 projects a year, typically leading to ten patents and two licensing deals.

There was also interest in the Connect programme established by the University of California at San Diego and set up to support local industry through education and information. Fees and sponsorship now bring in $1 million a year for projects that include high-tech innovation awards and regular briefings to ensure a two-way flow of information between academics and industrialists.

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