New R&D project aims for £7bn sensors market

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise

A new research and development (R&D) project aims to put Scotland at the forefront of the £7 billion global sensors and imaging systems market and deliver significant economic growth.

The project brings together companies and organisations to collaborate on production of materials used for manufacturing goods that use sensors, ranging from asthma inhalers to infrared cameras.

The initiative, backed by Scottish Enterprise and CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensors and Imaging Systems, will also “onshore” 41 research and manufacturing jobs from Asia.

Four companies — Cascade Technologies, Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global (CSTG), Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd (GSS), Amethyst Research Ltd — and the Research Division of Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering at The University of Glasgow will combine their expertise for the initiative.

The project will also see high performance III-V infrared detector specialists, Amethyst Research Ltd, continue to locate its operations in Scotland to gain access to Europe.

The project aims to boost turnover for the businesses by £135 million over the next 10 years and cut their production costs by up to 50%.

The initiative aims to give the businesses a competitive edge in the global mid-IR sensors1 market. The project is expected to deliver £56 million to the Scottish economy over the next 10 years.

“This ground breaking project is further evidence of Scotland’s global competitiveness,” said Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise.

“The companies involved are great examples of the innovative supply chain in Scotland, highlighting why we continue to be an attractive location for technology manufacturing investment.”

The project will be supported with almost £6 million in funding over the next three years, comprising £2.8 million from the companies participating, £2.6 million from Scottish Enterprise’s collaborative R&D support and £241,000 plus capital equipment provided by CENSIS.

Ian Reid, chief executive of CENSIS, said: “This project will have a momentous impact on Scottish industry and is a game-changer for collaborative R&D.

“Not only will it underpin the development of Scotland’s sensors and imaging sector, which already accounts for £2.6 billion in annual revenues, but it will also provide the academic community with access to cutting edge technology, allowing further innovation and collaboration.

“Scotland has the potential to be at the forefront of the global sensors and imaging systems sector, and this project could make that a reality. We have the opportunity to innovate continually from the design and growth of the materials, right through to the wide variety of products which can be manufactured and their extensive applications.

“Collaboration between these companies and the academic community will put both of these groups at the forefront of global trends and in a unique position to access new markets, ultimately creating a globally competitive supply chain of businesses.”