A NEW hi-tech centre could boost Scotland's economy by £130 million and create up to 1500 jobs in five years.

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) at Strathclyde University in Glasgow brings together a number of Scottish universities and private sector firms, including Ineos and pharmaceutical GSK.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said it would help place Scotland "at the forefront of a global transformational change" from an economy that was largely based on fossil fuels to one that was more inclusive of industrial biotechnology.

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Industrial biotechnology involves the production of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, energy and materials in a way that is both cost effective and causes minimal damage to the environment.

The market is estimated to grow so that it will be worth between £150 billion and £360bn globally by 2025, with the UK industry anticipated to be worth £4bn to £12bn.

An independent assessment of IBioIC has forecast it will generate £130 million of gross value added (GVA) for the Scottish economy, creating 1500 jobs directly and indirectly in five years.

Mr Swinney said: "The creation of 1500 new jobs is a fantastic boost for Scotland's expanding biotechnology industry. Scotland's chemical industry is the country's second top exporter - equating to £3.7bn per year - while Scotland's life sciences sector is one of the largest and fastest-growing in Europe."

IBioIC chairman Ian Shott said the new centre was a "collaboration of businesses and higher education institutions with the ambition to be truly distinctive, world-leading and responsive to the market and technology needs of industry".

The centre is being funded with £10m from the Scottish Funding Council, as well as being supported by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.