The Glasgow region is home to a sustainable, innovative business hub that creates thousands of jobs and promotes development, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Advanced Manufacturing: an innovation investment opportunity briefing, which took place online yesterday on the REALX.Global platform.
“It is an exemplary eco-system, a collaboration between business and academia with the support of local government,” said Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde. “The ingredients are talent and collaboration.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) will make Renfrewshire “the beating heart of Scottish manufacturing.” he said, and can be an example to the rest of the country, as “the UK hasn’t been great at anchoring manufacturing opportunities, but we are showing how it can be done.”
It has been a ten-year project to get everything right, putting all the elements in place, from the infrastructure to the transport connections to the financing and the availability of skilled labour.
“Good location, good infrastructure and transport links have been crucial, as well as the connections to move the product on to the international market,” said Paul Broad, director, sales and leasing, Avison Young. “Another crucial factor is the availability of skilled labour locally.”
Different companies from AstraZeneca to Boeing have come on board to take advantage of the opportunities.
“The hub combines all these things well, giving us access to world-class capabilities, world-class research and people with the skills we need,” said Jon-Paul Sherlock, head of innovative manufacturing technology, AstraZeneca. “Manufacturing innovation is capital-intensive and risky, but by leveraging multiple partners, having other industries come in and having local and national funding makes it advantageous and means we have access to facilities we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.”
A Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre has been built at the heart of AMIDS to develop next-generation pharmaceutical manufacturing process, drive innovation in the medicines supply chain and also accelerate access to affordable medicines.
Close by is the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), located near Glasgow Airport, which has industry-led, world-class engineering and R&D facilities that companies want to access.
Innovative manufacturing hubs can be very energy-intensive. AMIDS offers another, crucial advantage to companies wanting to minimise their impact on the environment as well as keeping their costs down: the availability of renewables, notably offshore wind.
“Energy is by far the biggest issue for companies,” said Keith Ridgway, executive chair, NMIS. “Energy costs can determine whether a start-up posts a profit or a loss. The use of renewables will become even more of a focus, and Scotland’s potential for renewable energy is huge.”