The CENSIS centre has been designed to foster collaboration between 12 universities in Scotland and industry in a sector that is set for rapid growth in coming years.
Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, said: "The global sensor systems technology market is due to be worth over $600 billion (£365bn) by 2015. Scotland is already at the forefront of this technology and, by bringing expertise together, CENSIS is ideally placed to continue the development of our broad and deep research capabilities." Backed by the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise, the centre is expected to deliver 150 collaborative research and development projects and to help bring a range of new products to market during its initial five-year funding period.
The centre expects the projects to involve spending of around £80m by the universities and firms concerned.
The Scottish Funding Council said the centre would help solve technological challenges in areas such as medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring and superfast broadband, and to create new high-tech jobs in the process.
The centre will help the 140 companies working in sensor and imaging technology in Scotland access the research capabilities developed by the country's universities and institutes. Partners include the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.
The centre expects to employ up to 22 staff. Some will work on projects to help adapt research results for commercial development.