A new inward investment fund has been launched to attract overseas firms to bring their research and development operations to Scotland.

The Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst is to be run by Interface – a service that matches business needs to academic research opportunities across Scotland’s universities and colleges.

Funding of £50,000 is available to help businesses partner with Scottish universities, research institutes or colleges to accelerate establishing a base in Scotland with funding awards up to £10,000 in value.

Attracting businesses to invest in Scotland has a critical role to play in shaping Scotland’s economy of the future and positioning the nation to survive and thrive in a changing global environment, said the organisation.

As far as priorities are concerned, there are nine key opportunity areas where the fund will focus its efforts, based on Scotland’s strengths in global markets. Those are: energy transition, decarbonisation of transport, software and IT, digital financial services, digital business services, space, healthtech, transformation of chemical industries, and food & drink innovation.

Business minister Ivan McKee said: “Inward investment makes a positive and significant impact on Scotland’s economy, particularly in our research and development sector.  

“Although only three per cent of businesses in Scotland are foreign owned, they are responsible for almost two thirds of business research and development spending. Furthermore, one third of all jobs in Scotland can be attributed to inward investment, along with almost half of Scottish GVA [gross value added] and three quarters of Scottish exports. 

“The Inward Investment Catalyst Fund will strengthen ties between academic research and industry. This will help Scotland to achieve its ambition to be a leading destination for inward investment that aligns with our values as a nation.”

Dr Siobhán Jordan, director of Interface, said: “The Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst fund is a fantastic opportunity for companies with no current operations in Scotland to gain access to world leading academic expertise as they forge deeper connections thereby creating jobs and leverage investment.

“Universities and colleges play an important role in attracting companies to Scotland. They are globally recognised sources of research and innovation and can ensure that a strong talent pool is available for companies investing in Scotland. This fund supports a key action in Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan positioning inward investment to play a key role in the creation of a fair, sustainable, inclusive and low carbon future in Scotland.”