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Biotech centre may bring £130m to economy

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.

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.

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