Sturgeon unveils £45m business R&D investment

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday revealed plans for a 70% increase in Scottish Government funding for businesses to conduct new research and development (R&D) projects — with an additional £45 million to be invested over the next three years.

Sturgeon made the announcement as she spoke at Spirit AeroSystems Europe Ltd where she confirmed the Prestwick-based company has won a contract to produce new carbon wing components for the Airbus A320 aircraft.

With the support of £2.1 million of research and development (R&D) funding from Scottish Enterprise, Spirit was able to use advanced manufacturing technology to secure the new contract, which will create more than 100 jobs.

In the coming weeks, Sturgeon will also set out key areas where the Scottish Government will make further commitments to help Scotland capitalise on economic opportunities, including:

  • Extra help for the advanced manufacturing, energy and financial technology sectors
  • Plans to support graduate entrepreneurs
  • Support for companies to access finance
  • Plans to make Scotland an early adopter of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles

Sturgeon said: “I am determined that Scotland leads on the key technological and social changes.

“I want Scotland to be the inventor and producer of the innovations that shape the future – not just a consumer of them.

“Spirit AeroSystems is an excellent example of a company providing industry-leading expertise and investing in Scotland.

“It is significant that research and development grant support from Scottish Enterprise has helped the business win this important new Airbus contract.

“R&D drives innovation, which in turn boosts productivity and economic growth.

“That is why R&D support from our enterprise agencies will increase almost 70% – from £22 million to £37 million per year.

“We expect this additional £45 million over three years will unlock a further £270 million R&D expenditure by companies

“We need to not only embrace technological innovations, we also must ensure that economic growth is inclusive – so that everyone benefits and has a fair chance to contribute.

“In the coming weeks I will set out further plans for Scotland’s economy and how we can make further progress towards achieving both of these key aims.”