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The First Minister has announced a new Centre of Excellence for Manufacturing to be based in Scotland and backed by £70 million of Government investment. The funding includes £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

A Manufacturing Future for Scotland outlines how the Scottish Government will work with industry and academia to stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in Scottish manufacturing.

The strategy will incorporate a Circular Economy Investment Fund to help manufacturers develop innovative technologies, business models and infrastructure, from the proof of concept stage through to implementation.  A Circular Economy Service will offer development support to businesses seeking to redesign their processes and products.

Speaking during a visit to Glenhead Engineering in Clydebank, Nicola Sturgeon said: “While manufacturing has undergone a significant transformation in recent decades, with increased globalisation and greater use of digital technology, it remains a high skills and high wage sector, with earnings that are above the Scottish average.

“Our programme for government committed us to further action and backed by £70 million of new circular economy funding, the action plan outlines how the Scottish Government, our enterprise agencies and Zero Waste Scotland will work with industry and higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, productivity and investment.

“Amongst the key actions in the strategy will be the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Manufacturing which will act as a hub for continuous innovation to ensure Scotland remains a sustainable and competitive place to do business.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Service will offer vital support to manufacturers that are seeking to develop processes and products that improve the economic performance of SMEs while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, in line with Scottish Government and EU policies.

“The Scottish Government will shortly publish our circular economy strategy – Making Things Last – which will set out in more detail our priorities for delivering the economic, environmental and social benefits of a more circular economy.”

The plan will include a Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service to conduct capital asset reviews.

It will also feature a new service to help embed workplace and employee practices that will drive innovation.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said the funding will lead to new ways to keep products in use for longer to save raw materials and resources.

“This makes great economic as well as environmental sense,” he said.

“By investing now, the Scottish Government is putting down foundations to build an ever more sustainable future – one that is resource efficient and most definitely circular.”