- This story was covered in Scotland on Sunday on 4 July 2021.
CENSIS has supported its 250th project since its inception, creating and retaining nearly 1,000 jobs in Scotland over the last eight years.
The Innovation Centre has delivered more than £50 million in project value – investment from industry, academic, and public sector partners in initiatives CENSIS has stimulated – with 100 projects taking a positive environmental focus.
Despite the challenges brought about by Covid and subsequent lockdowns, companies are still investing in R&D with 21 CENSIS projects created between February and April 2021 – our most active quarter ever.
Paul Winstanley, CEO of CENSIS, said: “Historically, R&D has tended to be among the first costs to be cut in an economic downturn – but our experience of the last 18 months has been that companies recognise the benefits innovation can bring and remain keen to invest. In fact, cash investment in R&D from many of the organisations we work with has actually increased, with an emphasis on digital and technologies that enable companies to operate remotely – whether through digital twins or remote asset monitoring.
“Business leaders increasingly recognise that innovation is a way for companies to keep themselves moving forward – whether that is by streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, or helping staff to focus on high-value work. Continuing to invest in R&D has seldom been more important to business resilience, particularly with remote working likely to remain a feature of how companies operate, and we expect innovation to remain a focus in the months and years ahead.”
CENSIS’s 250th project is a major £12.5 million initiative aiming to create three ‘communities of the future’ in Glasgow, Dundee, and Moray, being delivered by a consortium of partners led by Blackwood Homes and Care. It has received UK Research and Innovation funding as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Healthy Ageing Challenge.
Known as ‘Peoplehood’, the scheme aims to help older people in Scotland to live longer, healthier, and more independent lives. Each neighbourhood will decide their own focus, with an emphasis on community involvement and co-designing and testing innovations that support healthy ageing – such as improving accessibility to, and the adaption of, existing homes as well as the overall design of future housing.
Paul Winstanley added: “The project with Blackwood Homes and Care is highly significant – bringing a large-scale initiative with potential UK-wide impact to Scotland. It also involves a broad range of industry, academic, and other innovation centre partners, underlining what can be achieved through collaboration.”