Scots push business

April 16, 1999

Scottish business and industry minister Lord Macdonald has unveiled a Pounds 17 million scheme to convert the links between business and universities into economic success.

Lord Macdonald has participated in a knowledge economy taskforce that includes Ian Graham-Bryce, convener of the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, John Sizer, chief executive of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, and Crawford Beveridge, chief executive of the national development agency Scottish Enterprise. It has produced a report that aims to be an action plan for the Scottish Parliament to capitalise on the country's academic and commercial expertise.

A key area is a Pounds 6 million SHEFC programme over the next three years to promote a more professional approach to commercialising research.

Scottish Enterprise is spending Pounds 11 million over the next three years to align research more closely with "clusters" in the economy, initially set to cover oil and gas, food, semi-conductors and biotechnology.

The report suggests a blueprint that universities could adopt for a collaborative bid under the nationwide Science Enterprise Challenge, seeking a single entrepreneurial centre for the whole of Scotland.

The report praises Technology Ventures, set up by Scottish Enterprise to foster collaboration between business and higher education. But it says it should now focus more on increasing companies' capacity to "exploit the fruits of scientific discovery".

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