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Colleges spearhead £1.2M project to drive innovation in businesses

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More than £1.2 million will be invested in creating six new innovation hubs at colleges across Glasgow and the west of Scotland to help encourage innovation in local businesses. 

The 12-month College Local Innovation Centres (CLIC) pilot project, funded by the Innovate UK Further Education Innovation Fund, will help businesses across the Glasgow City Region gain access to comprehensive support and guidance on embedding and embracing innovation within their organisations. The hubs will support businesses in a number of sectors including health, sustainability, and digital. 

Support will range from advisory services to hands-on assistance in adopting cutting-edge technologies, processes, and business models. It’s hoped more than 200 businesses across Glasgow, Inverclyde, North and South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, and West Dunbartonshire will benefit from the project, which starts at the end of March 2024. 

Six colleges across the Glasgow City Region will host the innovation hubs, including:

  • Centre for Digital Creativity – Glasgow Clyde College (Glasgow)
  • Centre for Digital Enablement – Glasgow Kelvin College (Glasgow)
  • Centre for Innovation Leadership – City of Glasgow College (Glasgow)
  • Centre for Digitally Enabled Health – New College Lanarkshire (North Lanarkshire)
  • Centre for Sustainable Development – South Lanarkshire College (South Lanarkshire)
  • Centre for Advanced Manufacturing – West College Scotland (Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire)

John Canning, Head of Commercial and Business Services at Glasgow Clyde College said: "This is a significant moment for the Glasgow City Region and further highlights the crucial role the college sector will play in collaborating with the business community to drive innovation across Scotland. 

“Innovate UK has recognised the importance of Scottish colleges in the innovation and enterprise landscape and the role our institutions play in leading economic and social transformation. This sector-first opportunity and collective approach brings six colleges together to deliver on innovation and economic priorities and will underpin the ambitions of the business community across the city region and Scotland.

“We’re very much looking forward to uncovering and supporting up-and-coming businesses across the city and welcome applications from all sectors. The city of Glasgow is teeming with so much talent, and with this fund, we could help make dreams a reality for many.”

The award of funding is part of a UK-wide push by Innovate UK to promote innovation that will see £7.3 million invested in nine projects across 33 colleges. Other regions involved across the UK include Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. 

The Innovation Hubs, hosted within each college, will begin supporting businesses at the end of March 2024. 

Employers looking for further information about how to access the programme should contact Alastair McGhee for further information in the first instance. 

About College Local Innovation Centres (CLIC): 

CLIC is a consortium comprising six Glasgow City Region colleges dedicated to driving innovation and economic growth across the region. By establishing specialised Innovation Centres aligned with regional economic priorities, CLIC aims to empower local businesses with the tools, resources, and expertise needed to thrive in today's dynamic business landscape.  £1.2m funding has been secured through UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) for one year as a pilot to develop college innovation centres. 

About Innovate UK Further Education Innovation Fund:

Innovate UK is today announcing the recipients of the Further Education Innovation Fund (FEIF), a £7.3 million investment that will enable colleges to create Local Innovation Centres. 

Colleges will establish Local Innovation Centres that will become catalysts for local business growth by engaging with businesses in key sectors of their local economies to help them understand how they can adopt innovations in technologies, business models and processes. 

In total nine projects, involving 33 colleges, will receive investment from the pilot. This will be distributed across strategic groups including Innovation Accelerator City Regions: @Glasgow City Region, @Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the @West Midlands Combined Authority. 

Innovate UK aspires to supercharge innovation, boost productivity, stimulate economic growth, and create high-quality jobs, enriching the lives of local communities. The Further Education Innovation Fund will harness the power of place to foster innovation and drive positive change right where it is most needed.