By Erikka Askeland

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has completed a £12million investment in laboratory facilities specialising in thin

film technology.

Professor Sheila Rowan, chief scientific adviser for Scotland, joined more than 60 delegates from industry, government, and academia at a launch for the newly-refurbished lab at the university’s Paisley campus on Wednesday night.

Thin films are used in a wide range of industries, including medical devices, sensors, engineering, optics, imaging systems, electronic devices, and photonics.

The lab is part of the university’s Institute of Thin Films, Sensors, and Imaging (ITFSI), and combines its research, development, and commercialisation laboratories into one large unit.

In recent years, ITFSI has won £7m worth of external research funding, has secured five patents and has launched a masters programme in advanced thin films technology.

It has also supported the creation of sensor technology company, Novosound, UWS’ first-ever spin-out.

Last month the firm announced a £3.3m funding round led by Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund, which invested £1.5m alongside £500,000 from the Foresight Scottish Growth Fund and a further £1.3m from existing shareholders including Par Equity, Kelvin Capital, Gabriel Investments, the Scottish Investment Bank and UWS. The EIS fund is a collaboration between fund manager Foresight and the F1 Williams Group.

Professor Des Gibson, founder and director of ITFSI, said the facilities will bolster UWS’ position as “one of the UK’s leading institutions” in thin films, sensors, and imaging research and would spur further activity.

He said: “The industry-grade facilities will act as an embedded thin films manufacturing offering here at UWS, meaning not only the continued advancement of ground-breaking research, but also further collaboration with industry and the creation of additional spin-out companies, enabling us to capitalise on a host of new opportunities.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, principal and vice-chancellor of UWS, said: “We are confident our investment in the new laboratory will enable the Institution to build on its fantastic successes, as well as offering a state-of-the-art space for collaboration with industry and other businesses in

the field.”

Professor Rowan said: “These new facilities will support innovation in a research area where UWS has a key strength, further boosting Scotland’s reputation for excellent science.”