GVS brings together a unique group of Scottish business, university and public sector leaders to review the ways in which collaboration can increase sustainable economic growth in Scotland and create the knowledge-economy jobs of the future.
Whilst there are many successes, a key finding of the GVS Task Force is that whilst university-based research spend in Scotland is above the UK average as a percentage of GDP, spending by business in this area lags considerably behind the majority of the UK. In fact only 3.1% of the total investment in research and development across the UK is derived from businesses in Scotland (compared to over 9% of GVA and population).
The report cites structural reasons for the disparity between Scotland and other areas of the UK, as well as differences within Scotland. It identifies areas to be focused on to enable Scotland’s research and development and innovation capability to be enhanced.
The findings of this and later reports will be used by the GVS Task Force, to formulate recommendations to business, universities, government and public funders on how to build more economically successful collaborative innovation in Scotland.
Rob Woodward, CEO STV Group plc and Co-Chair of the Task Force commented:
“This report highlights a tremendous opportunity, which if effectively leveraged, would be a driver of economic growth. Given our findings that research and development activity levels by universities in Scotland are above the UK average, there is a rich and high quality asset which is underutilised and underexploited and could foster innovation and growth.”
“Our focus must be on striving for greater collaboration and engagement between businesses and the higher education sector to create a stimulus for economic growth and increase the impact and contribution of the university sector in Scotland.”
Commenting on the findings, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen and Co-Chair of the GVS Task Force said:
“This first report highlights some important challenges for Scotland if the opportunities presented by the strength of Scotland’s universities are to be maximised. There is a clear need to understand why there are geographical differences in Business R&D and how Scotland’s industrial base can undertake more R&D. A key component of both of these will be better relationships between universities and business across Scotland’s major industry sectors.”