Research and innovation in Scotland: World-class ideas
BY PROFESSOR DAME OTTOLINE LEYSER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF UK RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
The power and potential of research and innovation to improve lives and drive economic growth is truly exciting. The current pace of discovery and technological advance is astonishing, with unprecedented opportunities to create value for society. Now, more than ever, we must work together to build an innovation-led economy with opportunities for everyone to contribute and to benefit.
As the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is well positioned to work with our many partners to create, apply and deliver value from new knowledge and ideas, for the benefit of all. UKRI recently published our five-year strategy, signalling the start of an exciting new chapter for research and innovation in the UK. It provides us with a five-year vision and unity of purpose to work with and for our many partners and stakeholders in academia, in business, and beyond. Through our strategy, we will secure the UK’S position as a leader in science, technology and innovation. We will empower researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to turn challenges into opportunities, driving up prosperity and wellbeing across the UK and globally. Research and innovation in Scotland are at the heart of this ambition. The excellence of the research and innovation ecosystem in Scotland means that it consistently attracts a very high level of UKRI investment.
Outstanding research and innovation from brilliant ideas
This November at V&A Dundee, UKRI is bringing together academics, policymakers, and business leaders across Scotland to showcase our strategy and how we can work together to realise social and economic benefits across the UK. The theme of the event is world-class ideas, looking at how we can advance the frontiers of human knowledge and innovation. The event will focus on how Scotland can continue to harness the power of some of its most impressive assets: the creativity and ingenuity of its talented researchers and innovators, and the many people, in many roles, with whom they work.
UKRI invests in an extraordinary diversity of research and innovation in Scotland. Examples include:
Solving real world problems: at Videogames Cluster, INGAME
INGAME, a Dundee-based research and development centre, is showing how videogame design techniques, tools and technologies can be used to solve real-world problems. It is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme and funded by UKRI through the Arts and Humanities Research Council. One project, Smartview is a feasibility study that aims to create a new augmented reality tool to make improvements in dairy farming. The project uses artificial intelligence to identify individual cows through their distinctive markings. The tool will allow vets to see at a glance how productive and healthy particular animals are, allowing them to make quicker and more accurate interventions to improve animal welfare.
Understanding and treating human disease: at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit
The MRC Protein Phosphorylation & Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) in Dundee is a world leader in finding the causes of neurodegeneration, cancer, hypertension & immune disorders. The MRC PPU is arguably the largest and most prolific center studying phosphorylation worldwide. The Unit’s leading expertise, housed in Dundee, has been instrumental in the establishment of world’s longest running collaboration between academic research laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry. This collaboration has yielded important results including an approved drug for treatment of a specific type of skin cancer.
Shedding new light on the Universe: With the UK Astronomy Technology Centre
Space-age technology that was developed in Scotland is a key aspect of the world-famous James Webb Space telescope. Professor Gillian Wright and her team developed a Mid-infrared Instrument (MIRI) which allows scientists to observe the infrared universe in a way that was not possible before. Professor Wright led the UK and European efforts in her role as European principal investigator and Director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, which is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.