Glasgow approves £30m funding plan for new city centre ‘Innovation District’

Strathclyde University's Technology and Innovation Centre
Strathclyde University’s Technology and Innovation Centre

Glasgow City Council has approved a £30 million Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) scheme to support the development of a new ‘Innovation District’ in the city centre.

The proposed Innovation District will be built near the University of Strathclyde site in the Merchant City in tandem with a West End innovation base beside the University of Glasgow.

The two sites were identified as having “the characteristics that could bring sustainable economic development in key sectors” and it is hoped that the Innovation Districts will help support the work of entrepreneurs, university students and professors and private businesses.



Councillor Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Glasgow’s traditional role as a home of innovation has been boosted in recent years by a number of projects, and the creation of innovation districts promises to take the city’s status for achievements in sectors such as life sciences, advanced manufacturing and energy to new heights. The development of a TIF scheme for such a district in the Merchant City would bring great economic and social benefits to Glasgow.”

Funding of £129m from the Glasgow City Region City Deal will support the creation of an innovation district in the West End and Waterfront, as well as supporting the Imaging Centre of Excellence at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

  • The key aims of the proposed Merchant City Innovation District would be:


  • To showcase Glasgow as a location for, and generator of, innovation
  • To accelerate innovation and investment in Glasgow-based companies
  • To make innovation visible to companies, citizens and students
  • To contribute to the regeneration of the area and local community
  • To provide access to a platform of industrial informatics and enabling technologies (communications technologies, sensors, data platforms etc.)
  • To create an urban district where companies can accelerate innovation, product/service development and economic impact
  • To attract innovative companies of all sizes to Glasgow because the Innovation District is able to offer a unique set of research advantages.
  • The exact boundaries of the Merchant City site have still to be drawn up although it will sit near the university, the Tontine Innovation Growth Hub, the Technology & Innovation Centre, the Fraunhofer Institute,; the Centre of Excellence for Sensor and Imaging Systems,; the Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystalisation,the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, the Offshore Renewable Energy Centre and the Digital Health Institute.

    It is estimated that the project will require around £60m of investment from various partners, with the TIF scheme bringing in around half of that amount.

    The council will now submit an initial proposal to the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), which will require the approval of the Scottish Government.

    Talks with both the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde are still ongoing.

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