Jack Semple, Secretary of EAMA (of which MTA is a member) reports that the Scottish government has launched a four-year, £25 million innovation fund to speed up the adoption or development of low carbon products, services, technologies or processes in manufacturing.
The Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund is administered by Scottish Enterprise and will give grants of £150,000 or more.
Manufacturing has, in recent years, come to be recognised by the Scottish government as a key sector for development, alongside life sciences, tourism and financial services. In 2020 The First Minister’s Award for Manufacturing Leadership was started and in 2021 the government in Edinburgh published its Manufacturing Recovery Plan.
Scotland appears to have an integrated system of engagement with, and support for, SMEs. The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) has been maintained and has 22 practitioners supporting around 500 SMEs a year. This is in contrast with the MAS in England and Wales, which was shut down in March 2016.
The National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network, is expanding and a new centre will open this year. It receives strong funding from the government in Edinburgh. In addition, 12 smaller centres are located around Scotland focused on skills, robotics and machining, including additive manufacturing/3D-printing.
With the government in Westminster having recently identified a new imperative to reverse the historic decline in the UK (Levelling Up White Paper), it seems that there may be lessons to be learned from Scotland. We would welcome feedback in confidence from members – especially those with any experience of working in Scotland with the NMIS or the SMAS. If you have anything to pass on, please send it to Jack Semple (email: email@example.com) and copy to Geoff Noon at MTA (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fund announcement: https://www.gov.scot/news/encouraging-manufacturing-innovation/
Support for SMEs: https://advancingmanufacturing.co.uk/