This last week has brought a distinct change in mood in the Glasgow Chamber team with some good news and a growing emphasis on the positive prospects for the city’s future.

High amongst the good news must surely be the reducing Covid-19 case numbers and the Scottish Government’s decision to drop PCR tests for international travel.

This is not to say the impact of the Covid crisis is now passing – not least since we are in the final days of the job retention scheme and there are still many businesses in the travel and tourism industry and in city centres that face a deeply uncertain winter.

More specific to Glasgow’s economic development and with a link to the pandemic crisis is the philanthropic donation to the University of Strathclyde by the Charles Huang Foundation. Mr Huang has donated $70 million to the University making it the largest single gift Strathclyde has ever received.

Now based in Los Angeles, Mr Huang studied for an MBA and a PhD in marketing at Strathclyde Business School in the early nineties and subsequently built a highly successful career in private equity, most recently with Pasaca Capital Inc which invests in new technologies.

A notable investment is Innova Medical Group which is responsible for rapid lateral flow tests, including those used in the UK.

More than half of the Huang donation will be used to support the next stages in the development of the University’s Technology and Innovation Zone in the emerging Glasgow City Innovation District. The Chamber is a strong supporter of GCID not least since it is one of three innovation districts in the region that help us understand the technologies that could soon be the basis for Glasgow’s future jobs and growth.

But we are also keen to see GCID contribute to the redefinition of the city centre. Filling the empty spaces popping up all across the city with housing has mostly so far been the answer to the question “where next for our centre?”. While there is truth in that response GCID shows the complex, creative processes involved in technological innovation also have a major role to play.

I have listened to a dozen companies explain why they wanted to be based in GCID to be close to the academic research talent. It was therefore highly encouraging to see GCID included in Glasgow City Council’s ‘greenprint’ published last week in advance of COP26, setting out 10 aspirational projects and seeking up to £30 billion in public and private sector investment to tackle climate change while promoting economic growth. GCID aims to be climate neutral, experimenting with solutions for renewable heat, power and mobility across several city centre blocks while being a catalyst for research with industry in disciplines as diverse as space, quantum, health technologies and, of course, energy and net zero.

Almost all the council’s projects will have economic benefits. The second phase of expansion of the Scottish Events Campus would make it amongst the most energy sustainable conference and exhibition centres in the world and help maintain the city’s reputation in hosting major events. COP26 is testament to that. A robust and expanding SEC protects the city’s hotel stock.

The Glasgow Metro, the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District next to Glasgow Airport and Clyde Gateway’s Green Regeneration and Innovation District will also tackle climate change and simultaneously create a solid platform for Glasgow’s next cycle of growth.

On Friday the city’s stakeholders gather to examine the State of the City economy just one month before COP26. After 18 months of turmoil we can at last begin to plan with confidence.

Stuart Patrick of chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce