Research investment for Scottish SMEs

A new scheme designed to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to invest in research and development (R&D) has been launched by Scottish Enterprise.

The scheme aims to encourage large firms to work with SMEs on development projects in a bid to boost innovation among small Scottish businesses.

Scottish Enterprise believes the scheme will contribute an extra £80 million of R&D spend over the next 5 years.

Norwegian oil and gas firm Statoil has become the first firm to sign up to the scheme and will now encourage Scottish firms to invest in its R&D projects.

The scheme is inspired by a model used in Norway that has seen success over the last 20 years.

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:

"Investing in innovation can make the difference between a successful business and a world leader.

"That's why we've enhanced our R&D support to help more companies invest in developing new products, processes or services by working more closely with their customers.

"We want to develop a change of culture in Scotland that sees more large companies demanding innovative solutions from the Scottish SME base.

"Delivering more projects of this nature will also increase the likelihood of successful commercial outcomes for SMEs, leading to increased exports and competitiveness."

Richard Erskine, head of Statoil Technology Invest, said:

"Statoil is always looking for new technologies to find more oil, increase production, or improve operational efficiency. Scotland has a strong tradition in developing new oil and gas technologies and we believe this partnership with Scottish Enterprise will enable us to more effectively work with small technology companies to commercialise and implement their ideas."