Scottish Enterprise (SE) support for research and development initiatives during the past five years could boost Scotland’s economy by more than £640million over the next decade, the development agency said yesterday.
It added that its R&D programme had already generated £350million of private-sector investment on the back of SE support worth £55million.
It said the scheme had created 1,300 jobs to date, but there was the potential to lift this by a further 28,500 between now and 2019.
The projections came as SE announced another grant under its R&D programme, with the Scotland-based operations of international oil service group FMC Technologies getting £2.8million towards the cost of expanding a subsea product test centre at Bellshill, in Lanarkshire.
SE’s forecasts are based on an evaluation of its support for Scottish R&D projects by Frontline Consultants.
SE chairman Crawford Gillies said: “More than two-thirds of the private-sector investment generated through the programme has come directly from companies ‘headquartered’ outside Scotland, highlighting our world-class capabilities and growing international reputation as a first-class location for developing new ideas and technology.”
Mr Gillies described the quango’s investment in FMC as very good news for Scotland, adding: “This project will help the company maintain its global leadership position in developing technology for the oil and gas sector, and underline Scotland’s position as a centre of excellence for research and development in the energy sector.
“It is also an excellent illustration of how our R&D programme is helping to have a direct impact on Scotland’s economy.”
Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: “Innovative companies, such as FMC Technologies, which are continuing to expand, show there are reasons to be optimistic about Scotland’s economic recovery prospects.”
SE’s R&D programme was established to help address historically low levels of private-sector investment in research and development, in tandem with other support initiatives, such as the availability of R&D tax credits.
According to Frontline’s evaluation report, nearly 60% of the SE-backed R&D projects would not have happened without the development agency’s support and a further 20% would have gone ahead but on a much smaller scale.
For those projects now completed, more than two-thirds of the companies assisted had created new intellectual property. At the time of the evaluation, 20 projects were complete, with a further 35 at various stages of development.