Over 15 years, the UK and Scottish Governments have committed £350 million to support the development of a number of initiatives in the research, development and innovation theme. Including partner contributions, this is worth a total of £791 million.

There are three elements in the Research, Development and Innovation programme:

  • Data-Driven Innovation Programme: (City of Edinburgh)

  • Food and Drink Innovation Campus: (East Lothian)

  • A Programme of Investment in Economic Infrastructure: (Fife and the Scottish Borders).

Data-driven innovation programme (DDI)

The DDI Programme will be delivered through a network of five DDI Innovation Hubs - Bayes Centre, National Robotarium, Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI), Usher Institute, and Easter Bush. These hubs will draw upon the World Class Data Infrastructure (WCDI) project to provide the required underpinning data capability, computing and data storage infrastructure. You can read summaries of these hubs below.

Total Investment: £661 million (£270 million from the UK Government and the Scottish Governments, matched by £391 million capital investment from the universities and other sources).

Latest Position: The Bayes Centre, National Robotarium and WCDI Project Business Cases were approved by Joint Committee on 17 December 2018. The Easter Bush, Edinburgh Futures Trust and Usher Institute Business Cases are scheduled for consideration by Joint Committee in 2019.


Bayes Centre

The Bayes Centre, powered by the proposed investment in World Class Data Infrastructure (WCDI), provides the focal point for all the other DDI programme initiatives in the city region. The Bayes Centre will assemble up to 600 world-leading applied data science researchers, talented students and staff from organisations across the public, private and third sectors into one facility. It will do this by providing commercial collaboration space - and robotics “Living Lab” testing facilities - for use by industry, and by drawing together the University of Edinburgh Schools of Informatics, Mathematics, and Design together with the Alan Turing Institute, the Data Lab and the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.

Total Investment: £45 million

Latest Position: The Bayes Centre Project Business Case was approved by Joint Committee on 17 December 2018.


national robotarium

The National Robotarium will provide state of the art facilities to co‐locate researchers, R&D engineers, entrepreneurs and educators to deliver the UK’s leading international centre for the generation of new smart robotics companies. The activities proposed build on the established partnership with University of Edinburgh through the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.

The National Robotarium will be co-located on the Heriot-Watt University campus, having access to the resources of both Heriot-Watt and the University of Edinburgh. It will offer access to leading-edge applied research in autonomous systems, sensor technologies, and existing micro-assembly equipment.

Total Investment: £22 million

Latest Position: The National Robotarium Project Business Case was approved by Joint Committee on 17 December 2018.


edinburgh futures institute (EFI)

The EFI will be a global centre for multi-disciplinary, challenge-based DDI research, teaching and societal impact. The world is experiencing major changes including climate volatility, political discontent, economic upheaval and technological change. The EFI will bring different ways of thinking about these and other global issues, and of devising new solutions. It will provide thought-leadership in cultural, ethical, managerial, political, social and technological DDI issues, and help to transform the application, governance and benefits delivered from the use of data. It will do this by bringing together a range of academic disciplines, together with third party organisations, across financial services, cultural industries and the public sector that are dealing directly with these challenges.

Total Investment: £189 million

Latest Position: The EFI Business Case was approved by Joint Committee on 1 March 2019.


Usher Institute

Through through the application of data science, the Usher Institute will aim to develop innovative and financially sustainable models of health and social care that improve lives.

Located at Edinburgh BioQuarter, the Institute will become a world-leading hub where up to 600 health and social care researchers and scientists will collaborate with colleagues from public, private and third sectors organisations to deliver data-driven advances. The Institute will drive health and social care innovation at scale by integrating the activities of: clinicians, life scientists and data scientists to identify new, co-produced insights in identified areas of challenge; and industry and public sector organisations to extract, apply and commercialise expert knowledge.The Institute will draw on Scotland’s mature and world-leading health data assets, and well-established governance and data-sharing protocols developed in partnership with the National Health Service and the Scottish Government.

Total Investment: £85 million

Latest Position: The Usher Institute Business Case was approved by Joint Committee on 3 September 2019.


easter bush

An efficient agricultural sector is critical to social well-being ; by 2050, global agricultural production will need to increase by 50% to feed a growing global population. By applying data technologies that enable farmers and related industries to improve food production, digital agriculture (Agritech) will be critical to increasing global food supply.

The project will seek to leverage existing world-class research institutes and commercialisation facilitiesto make Easter Bush becomes a global location of Agritech excellence. It will do this through the deployment of a campus-wide network that will generate and collate, in real time, a multitude of local and global data, (e.g. animal genetics, food species genetics, soil condition, weather and market drivers). It will also work with commercial collaboration partners to use this information to realise the potential of having the right food species, and the right products, in the right field at the right time to maximise agricultural productivity. In addition, by improving on-site infrastructure and local road network, commercial partners will be able to co-locate at scale to commercialise Agritech breakthroughs.

As part of this project, there is also a proposed A701 relief road and A702 link, which represents a significant investment in the key infrastructure needed to support the major growth planned along the A701 corridor and in capturing the benefits of an inclusive growth programme based on research, development and innovation. Recent ground investigation work along the proposed road alignments has been completed. Midlothian Council now plans to commission a Civils Project Management contract to assist with the next stages of the design and development of the roads infrastructure and to support the project business case.  The council has been in early discussion with Transport Scotland and will liaise with them as the project progresses

Total Investment: £43 million

Latest Position: The Easter Bush Project Business Case will be considered by the Joint Committee in 2020.


world class data infrastructure (WCDI)

The WCDI project will provide the enabling data infrastructure platform for the wider DDI Programme. The DDI Programme requires an extremely powerful, high capacity and flexible infrastructure, capable of responsive delivery of an expanding range of complex and bespoke data and analytical services. By leveraging prior investments in the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC), and specifically its Advanced Computing Facility (ACF), WCDI represents a practical, flexible and cost-effective approach to the delivery of the diverse technological requirements of the DDI Programme.

Total Investment: £190 milion

Latest Position: The WCDI Project Business Case was approved by the Joint Committee on 17 December 2018.


Food and drink innovation campus (edinburgh innovation park)

The Food and Drink Innovation Campus, known as Edinburgh Innovation Park will be located at Craighall, by Musselburgh, East Lothian, on land next to the Queen Margaret University campus.

The project will deliver a flexible innovation space that will be directly adjacent to, and supported by Queen Margaret University – a university that is leading on international research in Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences. The innovation space will be set within a significant new wider business development space that will also be unlocked through the project.

This state-of-the-art innovation facility for the food and drink sector in Scotland will drive company growth, supporting and developing existing and creating sustainable new businesses to access a global market for healthy and functional food. The development will allow the Queen Margaret University, along with businesses, to form and grow a business sector that will harness the potential of translational medicine in food and drink. This will in turn support the diversification of the Food and Drink industry towards preventative, therapeutic and rehabilitative applications of expertise in genomics of food and drink sector.

Total Investment: £52 million

Latest Position: The Edinburgh Innovation Park business case is due to be considered by Joint Committee in 2020.


A Programme of Investment in Economic Infrastructure

This programme, worth £74 million will initally focus on creating innovation space in Fife and the Scottish Borders to ensure that businesses and communities across the city region are fully able to engage in the data-driven innovation opportunities, including industrial and business premises, to ensure maximum impact from the innovation investment.

Working closely with the region’s universities, the local authorities and their local business forum/economy partnership will also develop new approaches to stimulating innovation activity.

This will be achieved through a range of innovation activities with a focus on digital technologies and data and the circular, low carbon economy. The ambition is to have more innovation-active businesses in Fife and Scottish Borders


Fife Industrial Estates Regeneration

The Fife Industrial Innovation Investment Programme is a £48.4m ten-year programme delivered by Fife Council as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

The investment programme will provide buildings of the future and a major economic boost that will enable more joint working between the region’s universities and Fife businesses to drive productivity and deliver higher value, skilled permanent jobs. It will support the growth of innovative businesses in Fife, and help improve the region’s economy for everyone.

The new industrial and commercial stock will ensure that Fife’s technology parks and industrial estates have cutting-edge digital capability, flexible space for innovative manufacturing industries that are energy compliant.  

Over the next three years new industrial premises built across four sites in Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Lochgelly and Dunfermline will be developed. Seven hectares of new serviced employment land in Dunfermline and Dalgety Bay will be available for immediate investment by new or existing businesses. 

The Fife Industrial Estates Regeneration will:

  • Sustain the region’s reputation as a world-leading, data-driven centre for innovation.

  • Provide important investment in progressive industrial modernisation that will encourage more businesses to locate and grow within Fife.

  • Support the creation of 1,000 new skilled permanent jobs, with almost 600 short-term construction jobs.

  • Draw in a diverse range of companies with a growth outlook.

  • Attract a further £30m of further investment by the private sector.

  • Contribute to a regional step-change in economic performance by balancing growth across the region – targeting both areas where much-needed investment will create new jobs for local people as well as  ‘economic hotspots’ that already have rapid economic development.

Total Investment: £48.4 million

Latest Position: The Fife Industrial Estates Regeneration Programme was approved Joint Committee on 1 March 2019.

Central Borders Innovation Park.png

Central Borders Innovation Park

The Central Borders Innovation Park, situated next to the Borders Railway terminus at Tweedbank, will deliver much-needed high quality business space to the Scottish Borders.

Costing £25 million, the project will stimulate business growth and associated job creation, enhancing the area’s inward investment offer, particularly to high-value sectors, as well as assisting existing businesses to improve their competitiveness. It will also help to address inequalities in the area through providing access to better quality, higher paid jobs.

Total Investment: £29 million

Latest Position: The Central Borders Innovation Park project was approved by Joint Committee on 1 March 2019.