Glasgow’s innovation ecosystem and emerging IoT sector were given a boost this week after a council decision to approve the allocation of UK Government funds.
Glasgow’s two innovation districts in the riverside and city centre will be boosted by £1.08m in Shared Prosperity Fund cash, with the funds going to the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde, which oversee the schemes.
The city’s Smart Things Accelerator Centre (STAC), in Glasgow’s Skypark, will receive £257,000 to further its work in sustaining the growing cluster of Internet of Things (IoT) companies, as part of an ‘ecosystem growth’ programme. The overarching category for the funding awards falls under the Innovative Districts Support Programme.
This award will secure a long-term strategic partnership between the council and STAC, which will see collaboration on the local technology and innovation strategy to identify and realise opportunities for the city.
City councillors had to vote formally to ‘approve’ the decision to award the funds, which come under an earlier acceptance of a £26.1m award under the Shared Prosperity Fund, over three years.
A further £125,000 UKSPF investment will be made in the Net Zero Neighbourhoods project, which will pilot a new governance and finance model for street-by-street and place-based housing retrofit. Glasgow has over 70,000 tenement buildings built before 1920, as well as over 350,000 dwellings which would require adaptation work to meet energy-saving goals. The research would be designed to support a viable strategy to carry out such a massive undertaking, which could cost in excess of £1billion for the city.
This project aligns with the work of Sustainable Glasgow in developing analysis of decarbonisation through the Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategy and will benefit from the council’s partnership with the Connected Places Catapult, host of the Cities Climate Investment Commission, a legacy of COP26 where Glasgow plays a key role in working with other cities to engage with national government on the climate finance agenda.
The city region – alongside Greater Manchester and the West Midlands -has also received one-third of £100million for an Innovation Accelerator Pilot. The city region programme for this Pilot features 11 projects, assessed by an industry-led partnership and Innovative UK and identified as being from key sectors which represent areas of local strength.
Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “These awards will benefit the city’s economy in a number of ways. This funding will support and develop businesses in sectors key to our future economic growth, drive research into how best to retrofit our homes and allow more businesses to gain from adopting the principles of the circular economy.”
Alisdair Gunn, project director of Glasgow City Innovation District, said: “We are delighted to be receiving this funding from Glasgow City Council to support innovation activity in the city and further develop the city’s thriving innovation ecosystem.”