Scotland launches R&D funding and support program

Sept. 14, 2004
Glasgow, Scotland and Boston, MA, September 14, 2004--Scotland has announced the launch of R&D Plus, a new European Union-approved funding scheme designed to support large companies engaged in R&D activity in Scotland. Launched by Scottish Enterprise (Glasgow), the economic-development agency for Scotland, the scheme has already been piloted with several major companies, including Agilent (Palo Alto, CA), BAE Systems Avionics (Essex, England), and AEA Technology (Didcot, England).

Glasgow, Scotland and Boston, MA, September 14, 2004--Scotland has announced the launch of R&D Plus, a new European Union-approved funding scheme designed to support large companies engaged in R&D activity in Scotland. Launched by Scottish Enterprise (Glasgow), the economic-development agency for Scotland, the scheme has already been piloted with several major companies, including Agilent (Palo Alto, CA), BAE Systems Avionics (Essex, England), and AEA Technology (Didcot, England).

Scotland has become a center for activity in optoelectronics. For example, Logitech (Glasgow) has developed a high-speed optical polishing system for photonic and semiconductor wafers used in the production of laser diodes, MEMS components, and integrated circuits. Spanoptic (Glenrothes) produces precision aspheric lenses on five-axis CNC machines. Optocap (Livingston) is a "centre of excellence" devoted to commercializing optoelectronics research. And Scotland's optoelectronic industry is fueled by research at the universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and Heriot-Watt, among others.

Expenditure on R&D in Scotland increased by 62% in real terms in the six years between 1995 and 2001, with 76.3% of this coming from companies with 400 or more employees, according to Scottish Executive (Scottish government) figures released in August 2003. Scottish Enterprise has created R&D Plus to incentivize further crucial R&D investment from these large companies and encourage firms who are currently not doing so to carry out R&D in Scotland.

Martin Togneri, the senior director of Scottish Development International, points out the success of other Scottish initiatives like the Intermediary Technology Institutes and the Proof of Concept Fund, which link research to enterprise to create a knowledge economy. (Scottish Development International is a joint venture between the Scottish government and Scottish Enterprise. With 21 offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, the organization acts as a one-door entry point for companies wanting to do business with Scotland.)

R&D Plus offers support of up to 25% of eligible program costs where applicants meet certain specific criteria and demonstrate that the economic rationale for assistance includes long-term capacity building and sustainability to improve a company's competitiveness through R&D.

Graham Russell, BAE Systems Avionics' Edinburgh site director, said, "This initiative has been of great assistance in giving us support for developing our laser-alignment technology. Scottish Enterprise's support has allowed us to accelerate development of that technology program, ensuring increased accuracy of laser assembly and repeatability of output, with potential benefits for the photonic sector of Scotland."

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