A new scheme, part of a programme of activity, to increase Scotland’s investment in innovation and contribute to an additional £80 million of Research and Development (R&D) spend in Scotland over the next five years, was been launched yesterday with the signing of its first strategic agreement with leading global oil and gas firm, Statoil.
Statoil Technology Invest (STI), a 100% subsidiary of Norwegian company Statoil ASA, has formed a strategic partnership with Scottish Enterprise to help encourage more companies to invest in early phase development projects using their combined support.
This new approach, which has been successfully delivered in Norway for over 20 years, aims to encourage larger companies to work more closely with SMES to deliver better, more- improved solutions to meet their operational challenges.
It is one of a number of new initiatives being delivered by Scottish Enterprise to help increase Scotland’s GVA by £1.5 billion.
“Investing in innovation can make the difference between a successful business and a world leader. That’s why we’ve enhanced our R&D support to help more companies invest in developing new products, processes or services by working more closely with their customers.
“This is our first strategic partnership to support innovation projects in Scotland – the first, we hope, of many. We want to develop a change of culture in Scotland that sees more large companies demanding innovative solutions from the Scottish SME base. Delivering more projects of this nature will also increase the likelihood of successful commercial outcomes for SMEs, leading to increased exports and competitiveness.
“In 2012/13 we awarded in excess of £2.7 million of innovation funding to the oil and gas sector, supporting 53 projects. STI’s experience of a similar scheme in Norway makes them the perfect strategic partner to help increase and improve the number of projects we deliver in Scotland each year.”
STI provides expert technical and financial guidance as well as project based or venture capital funding to companies developing solutions that meet the operational challenges faced by its parent company, Statoil ASA.
Head of STI, Richard Erskine, said:
“Statoil is always looking for new technologies to find more oil, increase production, or improve operational efficiency. Scotland has a strong tradition in developing new oil and gas technologies and we believe this partnership with Scottish Enterprise will enable us to more effectively work with small technology companies to commercialise and implement their ideas.”
Gunnar Breivik, Managing Director of Statoil Production UK in Aberdeen, also welcomed the agreement. He added:
“We are stepping up our activities on the UK Continental Shelf. After establishing ourselves in Aberdeen, we have been able to witness the inventiveness of the local industry cluster at close range. Hopefully this collaboration can stimulate ideas and cost effective technologies that meet challenges both locally and globally.”
Both organisations were joined yesterday in Edinburgh by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, to witness the signing of the agreement.
Mr Swinney said:
“I am delighted to welcome the launch of this new partnership between Statoil and Scottish Enterprise. It will see Scottish Enterprise work with Statoil to provide support and encourage more Scottish SMEs to invest in research and development projects.
“Innovation is critical if we are to maximise recovery of the remaining reserves in the North Sea and this project demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to a sustainable and certain future for the oil and gas sector. I am confident this scheme will deliver in Scotland just as successfully as it has in Norway.”
Pictured is Lena Wilson, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise