A new strategy bringing academics and industrialists together to commercialise Scottish research in science and technology could create at least another 11,000 jobs over the next ten years.
This claim came at the launch of a national commercialisation strategy, Technology Ventures, drawn up by Scottish Enterprise and the Royal Society of Edinburgh after a two-year inquiry into how to promote the local exploitation of higher education expertise.
The two organisations predict that around 8,000 jobs could be created from companies already established in Scotland, and that if all of these stemmed from formal licensing deals, university licensing income would increase from under Pounds 1 million to Pounds 4 million. And more than 3,000 extra jobs could be created through academic spin-out companies.
George Kynoch, Scottish Office minister for industry, said at the launch: "Not enough research is exploited commercially in Scotland with the benefits that it could bring for industrial strength, employment and quality of life."
Technology Ventures says academic involvement with industry is seen as generating research income, with commercialisation considered to be an add-on, which is somebody else's responsibility. It wants to see incentives to encourage individual researchers and institutions to become involved in converting research into a marketable product.
It suggests setting up courses on commercialisation, especially for postgraduates and contract researchers in engineering, science, technology, and business subjects.
Higher education institutions should recruit more staff with industrial experience, and use industrial sabbaticals, as well as offering more flexible contracts including joint appointments with industry, says Technology Ventures.
* Young Scots are optimistic about their future in education and employment, according to a survey sponsored by the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department.
The survey of 18 and 19-year-olds in the spring of 1995 has revealed that nine out of ten expected to be in a full-time job or full-time education a year later.
Even among the 12 per cent who were out of work, more than half expected to have a full-time job within a year. By May 1995, almost 40 per cent of those surveyed were in full-time education, and almost a third were in full-time work.