Thursday, 28 April 2016

Scotsman: EDAS Makes the Case for Growing Scotland’s Global Links

Scotsman (28/04/2016) - The Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) will today launch a publication setting out the case for strengthening Scotland’s trade links with the wider world.

Outlook, Culture and Scottish Internationalisation features a series of articles written by prominent figures from Scotland’s academic, business and public sector arenas, including former Aggreko International managing director Derek Shepherd and Scots lawyer David Scrimgeour.

EDAS chair Robert Pollock said: “Smaller nations, like Scotland, should celebrate the diversity, creativity and insights they bring to the global table. Our country has much to offer and we should share it in this dynamic and ever shrinking world.

“Scotland needs a national collaborative system that can harness our collective spirit, energy, resilience and resourcefulness. EDAS’ publication offers valuable insight and aims to act as a catalyst for greater internationalisation in the coming years.”

Today’s launch, hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cultural Relations, is backed by Scottish Development International (SDI), which is tasked with helping companies to grow their exports and attracting investment into Scotland.

It comes after the Scottish Government last month launched its new trade and investment strategy, a five-year plan that includes measures such as tripling the number of exporting advisers in Scotland and beefing up SDI’s high growth market unit to help firms expand in China, India and the Middle East.

Announcing the strategy, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Scotland continues to be the most attractive place in the UK outside London for inward investment and events such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup have put Scotland firmly on the map.

“With international exports increasing by 17 per cent in the past five years, the strategy builds on this success and aims to help more Scottish businesses sell more goods and services to more markets, while helping existing investors to develop and grow in Scotland.”

For more on the publication “Culture, Outlook & Scottish Internationalisation”, see EDAS’ website.

Press Release: EDAS launches agenda-setting publication to support Scotland’s trade with the wider world

EDAS (28/04/2016) - Ambassadors for Scotland’s global engagement, including the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International, and the British Council will gather in Edinburgh on 28th April to attend the launch of a publication which provides ground-breaking insights into the links between Scotland’s culture and outlook, and our engagement, connectivity and trade with the wider world. The launch is supported by Edinburgh University’s Centre for Cultural Relations and Scottish Development International.

Published by the Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS), Outlook, Culture and Scottish Internationalisation features a series of articles written by leading figures from business, media, the public sector and academia; including Professor Paul Bishop (William Jacks Chair of Modern Languages, University of Glasgow), Dame Sue Bruce (Former Chief Executive of City of Edinburgh Council), Fiona Fraser (Brand Strategist), and Dr Derek Shepherd (Former Managing Director, Aggreko).

The publication comes hot on the heels of the Scottish Government’s new Trade and Investment Strategy, whose explicit aim is “to drive a shift in mindset with increased global outlook” in Scotland as key to increasing economic internationalisation.

Speaking ahead of the publication launch, Robert Pollock, Chair of EDAS, said, “Smaller nations, like Scotland, should celebrate the diversity, creativity and insights they bring to the global table.  Our country has much to offer and we should share it in this dynamic and ever shrinking world. Scotland needs a national collaborative system that can harness our collective spirit, energy, resilience and resourcefulness.  EDAS’ publication offers valuable insight and aims to act as a catalyst for greater internationalisation in the coming years."

Curated by EDAS, Scotland’s economic development network, the publication concludes a year of work on internationalisation. The work will contribute to the Association’s broader evolving policy framework, A Route Map for Common Ambition for Scotland, which also focuses on innovation and skills. The Route Map has been developed to reconsider some of the big economic policy issues facing Scotland and further outcomes will be shared throughout 2016.

With prominent members from the public, private and third sectors, EDAS is positioned as one of Scotland's most authoritative and respected sources of informed commentary on economic development; ensuring that key aspects of economic development are kept at the forefront of public debate and comment.

The launch event takes place at 4.30 pm, Thursday 28th April at, Edinburgh University, 50 George Square Project Room, Edinburgh. The publication will be released to coincide with the launch. For details contact EDAS on 07801 354591.

Further Information about EDAS
Contact, Elaine Bone, EDAS on 07801 354591 or at

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Conference Discusses Role of Smart Technology in Transforming Scotland

26/04/16 - People in Scotland will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the way they use and buy energy through the national rollout of smart meters, a major seminar heard yesterday.

Delegates at Smarter Scotland: Towards a Digital Nation heard leading experts talk about the future of smart technology in Scotland – in particular how homes and microbusinesses are to benefit from the changes that can come from a digitalised energy sector.
More than three million smart meters have already been installed across Great Britain, and by 2020 every household and microbusiness will have been offered an upgrade from their old gas and electricity meters.

Claire Maugham, director of policy and communications at Smart Energy GB, said: “Smart meters will not just bring an end to the absurdity of estimated bills and manual readings. They will help consumers to take control of their energy use by showing what is being spent on gas and electricity in pounds and pence, in near real-time.

“Our latest research findings in Smart Energy Outlook show that eight in ten people with a smart meter would recommend one and 80 per cent have already used their smart meter to take action to save energy.

“While smart meters will change consumers’ experiences of energy consumption, they will enable so much more than individual benefits. In Scotland, in particular, the wider benefits of the roll out will be significant.

“Smart meters will help to tackle some of the biggest challenges that Scotland faces, such as fuel poverty, inefficient homes and the drive towards a lower carbon footprint.”
The audience, composed of leading figures from Scotland’s business, property, academia, scientific and technology sectors, heard how smart meters will also allow for the a new digital platform for innovation in energy.

David Rowan, editor of WIRED Magazine (UK) said: “We are at the early stages of designing the interfaces through which consumers access smarter energy networks. But design will be transformative. Something as important as home energy usage is inevitably going to be transformed by the ubiquity of touch-screens, embedded sensors, data analytics. At the same time, innovators from outside the existing utilities are innovating and rethinking how we access, consume and generate energy – and how consumers feed energy back to the grid. All this needs smart meters.
“The data that we discover through smart meters will help us make decisions in ways that impact not just the environment but also our pockets.”

Dr Marilyn Lennon, senior lecturer in computer and information sciences at Strathclyde University, added: “Designed properly, and presented in the right way, information about our energy use can really change our behaviours. Being able to see cause and effect clearly and in engaging ways through a smart meter system might just be the key that unlocks more proactive and empowered energy users and consumers.”

Smarter Scotland: Towards a Digital Nation, held at University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow, featured presentations from David Rowan, Editor of WIRED magazine; Polly Purvis, Chief Executive, ScotlandIS; Ewen Gibb, Innovation and the Lab at Future Cities Catapult; and Dr Marilyn Lennon, Senior Lecturer in Computer and Information Sciences, Strathclyde University.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Scotland's Unemployment Rises by 20,000

20/04/16 - Unemployment in Scotland rose by 20,000 between December and February to stand at 171,000, according to official figures.

The Scottish jobless rate is now 6.2%, compared with 5.1% for the UK as a whole.
Employment in Scotland fell by 21,000 over the three months, and stands at 2,610,000.
The rate is 73.9%, below the UK average of 74.1%
The number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) fell by 600 to 57,000 from February to March.
The claimant count level, which includes Universal Credit, was up 200 over the month at 71,400.

By BBC Scotland business and economy editor Douglas Fraser
The latest Scottish job statistics are disappointing, though in the context of a positive jobs picture.
The British economy is far from functioning normally, and that will remain the case while interest rates stay locked in the basement - but the labour market has been doing something right.
Read more from Douglas here.

The Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland (FSB) said the statistics "should focus minds for those pounding pavements on the Holyrood campaign trail".
Scottish policy convener Andy Willox added: "Our research shows Scottish small business confidence faltering.
"Firms are dealing with a raft of new challenges, including the National Living Wage and pension auto-enrolment deadlines.
"While many parts of Scotland continue to do well, too many communities still suffer from the mistakes of the past, while some local economies face new challenges for which they seem unprepared."
Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary Grahame Smith said: "With increases in unemployment and economic inactivity driven by a significant fall in employment, today's statistics provide further evidence of the significant slowdown in the Scottish economy over the past year.
"Over the past year, unemployment has increased and employment has fallen. Unemployment as measured by both rate and level is more than 50% higher than its trough in early 2008. The employment rate fell by 1% over the last quarter.
"It is difficult to find cause for optimism for a quick turnaround in the Scottish economy."
Source: BBC News

Top International Urban Development Leaders Promote Attendance at the 1st World Towns Leadership Summit 15-16 June, Edinburgh

David Downey, President & CEO, International Downtown Association, and Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO, The Cape Town Partnership, explain why they are attending the World Towns Leadership Summit, Edinburgh, 15-16 June.

Leading figures in global urban development are highlighting the importance of the first ever World Towns Leadership Summit, to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland on 15-16 June 2016. In addition to bringing together leading civic officials, planners, economists, architects and cultural professionals from across sectors and countries, the Summit will see the drafting and signing of the first World Towns Agreement: A Public-Private-Social Vision for Urban Centres. Delegates will also witness transformation in action, with special study visits to key regeneration areas in Scotland’s towns and cities.

In a news bulletin by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, David Downey stated:
“The International Downtown Association and top business district CEOs from across the United States and Canada join delegates at the  2016  leadership summit to share 30+ years of experience in shaping successful and dynamics city centers and urban neighborhoods. Civic governance is quickly evolving in all countries worldwide. The leadership summit will establish an urban regeneration declaration inclusive of a clear role for public-private district management organizations as power brokers for addressing cities toughest challenges in the future.”

Meanwhile Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, internationally renowned urban planner and CEO of The Cape Town Partnership in South Africa, has released a short #RoadtoEdinburgh video vox pop of why she will be speaking at the Summit. In it, she highlights the importance of organisations across the globe working together for the common good, “building from the ground up” and “planting for tomorrow”.

In a recent article, the CEO of Scotland’s Towns Partnership – the national agency for towns in Scotland – explained that as a “nation of towns”, Scotland is an ideal global location for such a Summit. The STP CEO, Phil Prentice, also underlined the importance of the gathering for town and city district development internationally, and encouraged town and city development stakeholders to attend:

“This call to action is now vital and with the right leadership, investment, coordination and vision, our towns and neighbourhoods can once more become a key element of global urban infrastructure. At the scale of nations, they are nodes of labour force, distinct local production and tourism. Across regions, networks of towns connect people and infrastructure at scale. Towns and neighbourhoods matter to the transformation of modern economies, promising value; blending local and global opportunities. Amongst the challenge lies opportunity.”

To see the video and read more about the WTLS, please see the WTLS16 website & bulletin, follow on twitter @WTLS_16, or, email

Central Scotland Green Network Ideas Fund – Open to Applicants

Now in its fourth year, the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Ideas Fund awards up to £5,000 to support the development of pioneering greenspace and green infrastructure projects, from concepts in their early stages of research, scoping and feasibility to those further on in the design process which are ready to transform their vision into reality with project development, testing or delivery. Eligible applicants will include all CSGN stakeholders and partners, local authorities, academic institutions, NGOs, professional, private and community interests.

To celebrate Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, applicants to the 2016 CSGN Ideas Fund should have a creative professional at the heart of the development or delivery of the idea which must make a positive contribution to greenspace or green infrastructure in the region. 
Entries should be submitted by 12 noon on 6 June 2016 and three shortlisted projects will go forward for presentation at the CSGN Forum in Glasgow on 21 June 2016. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Innovation Event: Cycling and Performance Outdoor Textiles

10am, Thursday 21 April

Peel Tower - Glentress Forest, Peebles

Full information and booking at Eventbrite

The Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland (MTBCOS) and the Textiles Future Forum (TFF) are running an event to help convert ideas into real, commercially viable opportunities.

This event will provide a forum for you to use the power of collaboration to overcome common business problems such as obtaining funding, design issues, IP shortages, manufacturing issues and market intelligence.

Each attendee will get an opportunity to take part in a Speed Pitching session to articulate their needs to the whole audience. Start with a conversation, identify partners with common goals or solutions and build opportunities to innovate.

Opportunities in Cycling:

  • Performance clothing- wicking textiles and breathable water proof coatings
  • Security - Body armour and protection
  • Medical and compression garments
  • Smart textiles and integrated electronics
  • Carbon fibre applications – high end bike frames and components
  • Accessories – Bags, footwear, gloves
  • Industrial textiles – e.g. use for construction in mountain bike trails

Who should attend:

  • Textiles manufacturers & designers
  • Cycling & Outdoor clothing manufacturers & designers
  • Academics from sports science, textiles, product design, electronics, polymerists, engineering backgrounds.
  • Students & Entrepreneurs with a business idea

Provisional Agenda

9.30am       Arrival and Welcome

10am         TFF and MTBCOS welcome and introduction Joe Pacitti and Danny Cowe

10.20am    Speed Pitching

11.20am     Networking Session

12 noon     Lunch and Refreshments

12.45pm    Speed Pitching

1.30pm      Networking Session

2pm          Thankyou and Close

Report Published on Way Forward for Scotland’s Food and Drink Sector

Scotland has the potential to become the best country in the world to operate a food and drink business if our buoyant industry stays at the forefront of the domestic and international markets, Food Secretary Richard Lochhead has said.

The Cabinet Secretary has welcomed the publication of an industry-led report that sets out the actions required to enable the country’s food and drink sector to continue to grow and prosper over the coming years.

The full report can be found here

The report – ‘Building on Success: Deepening Collaboration, Food and Drink in Scotland’­ – was commissioned by the Scottish Government last year and sets out more than 30 recommendations for action across key themes. Dennis Overton, vice chairman of Scotland Food & Drink, led the work to assess the opportunities for deeper collaboration across the industry that could bring about a step change in its growth and resilience, and build upon the remarkable success it has achieved over the past few years.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

“Scotland’s food and drink industry has enjoyed unprecedented economic success over the past few years, smashing its own ambitious growth and export targets, and greatly enhancing the country's reputation as being a land of food and drink, both at home and on the international stage. This has been borne from excellent partnership working across the industry and public sector, but neither can stand still and become complacent – we must stay ahead of the game and one step in front of our competitors. That is why I commissioned this report – I wanted to see the actions we need to take, collectively, to build on our remarkable success and make Scotland the best country in the world to run a food and drink business.

“I am hugely grateful to Dennis and the Expert Group for their time in producing an excellent report which will underpin Scotland’s new food and drink strategy currently being developed. This could be transformational for the sector and I am committed to working with Dennis, the industry and the public sector partners to consider and take forward the recommendations where appropriate. I also look forward to receiving a progress report from Dennis at the end of 2016.”

The recommendations set out in the report include:

  • Initial proposals to address the supply chain imbalance, recognising the need for closer alignment between producers and other parts of the supply chain
  • The need to enhance our approach to innovation, with a greater focus on product development in line with market insights
  • The implementation of a new industry-wide skills development plan to improve the industry’s workforce planning and enhance its reputation as a career choice
  • Proposal for greater operational alignment across the industry and with the public sector
  • Identifying the options on how Scotland can compete on the international stage through greater promotion and marketing

Dennis Overton, vice chairman of Scotland Food & Drink said:

“A great deal has been achieved over the last 10 years by the food and drink industry and Government working collaboratively together in ways never seen before. The team that produced this report realised that big opportunities remain to take collaborative working to a higher level. We have learnt that collaborative working translates directly into improved economic performance, more inventiveness and new jobs. Scotland's Food and Drink industry is ambitious to make collaboration something of a hallmark of distinction in the way we do business.”

Revised Land Use Strategy for Scotland Published

Our land is our biggest asset and the Scottish Government has set out how best to meet its potential for effective, economic and environmentally sustainable use. The revised Land Use Strategy sets out policies and proposals for the next five years and beyond, ensuring that communities are fully engaged.

‘Getting the best from our land’ is Scotland’s second land use strategy and comes at a time when focus on the way we use land is stronger than ever. The recently passed Land Reform (Scotland) Bill and Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act have paved the way for this revised strategy, which sets out the importance of:

• Management of natural resources with an ecosystems approach to land use
• Partnership activity to bring a range of interests together to consider land use at a local level in both rural and urban areas
• Developing and implementing activities to promote climate friendly farming and crofting
• The relationship between ownership, use and management of land
• Continuing to explore the potential of catchment based approaches for managing land

A wide ranging public consultation highlighted an appetite for establishing a strategic vision for Scotland’s uplands and setting up an urban pilot project for the first time to explore community engagement with land use. These are two of the key actions highlighted in the strategy.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Dr Aileen McLeod said:
“Land is a fundamental resource for the nation and we all benefit from a more integrated and strategic approach to land management. Land use is crucial to our economic prosperity as well as how we mitigate and adapt to climate change. With such a precious asset, it is hugely important for us to balance the growing demands on our land and make informed decisions about the way it is managed – Scotland’s revised land use strategy provides the best framework for this.

“New legislation – the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 - demonstrate the dynamic nature of the debate on land in Scotland. Our new Land Use Strategy, ‘Getting the best from our land’, represents a bold and ambitious programme and I look forward to seeing its positive impact on land use in Scotland over the coming years.”

The Land Use Strategy is available here:

An Extra £20m for Third Sector Employment Programmes

Scottish ministers are to invest an additional £20 million into third sector organisations providing employment programmes for disabled people with complex issues finding and staying in work.

The investment will come following the transfer of employability powers to Scotland from Westminster in 2017.

The Scottish Government this week said it will use the powers in the first instance to ensure continuity of service for those who most need it.

This means replacing the current disability programme Work Choice with a one-year contract with current third sector providers of Work Choice in Scotland, investing additional funding of up to £20m to support unemployed disabled people into work.

The government will also ask Skills Development Scotland to use the mechanisms currently in place for the Employability Fund to deliver a new employability service for vulnerable clients at risk of long-term unemployment who want to enter work – with additional new resource to do so.

Cabinet secretary for fair work, skills and training Roseanna Cunningham said: “New powers on employability are among the most exciting of the new areas to be devolved as it gives Scotland the chance to create something that works for unemployed Scots.

“We are now looking ahead and working to deliver the aligned, effective and client-focused services which treat those who use services with respect and deliver the effective, efficient and responsive services unemployed Scots are entitled to expect for future years.”

The Wise Group, one of Scotland’s biggest third-sector employment providers and a leading social enterprise, welcomed the new arrangements.  

Laurie Russell, chief executive of the Wise Group, said: “We are pleased to hear of the additional investment from the Scottish Government in employability in Scotland. The consultative approach, by the Scottish Government, to designing the programmes is welcomed. We are confident that we can continue to work in partnership to transform the lives of those most in need of support.” 

Inclusive Prosperity in and Beyond Scotland’s Cities: 1st April – 27th May

In collaboration with senior policy makers across the Scottish Cities Alliance, the Scottish Cities Knowledge Centre (SCKC) plans to produce an evidence-based set of policy recommendations for publication and high-profile launch early in 2017.

There will be three workshops on distinct topics, each involving short briefing papers and presentations from analysts and stakeholders followed by discussion to identify practical policy solutions. The workshops will include a facilitated discussion to identify policy recommendations, and will result in a short report, authored by SCKC, summarising the key conclusions.

Among the speakers are representatives from the Scottish Government’s Economic Office, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Network, The Highland Council, Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government’s Cities Team. Steering and informing the debate will be economists, urbanists and public policy analysts from the University of Glasgow, University of Coventry, University of Strathclyde, St Andrews University, The Glasgow School of Art and Heriot Watt University.

The three workshops will have the same format and will be held from 13:00 until 16:30 as following:

Spreading the benefits of growth across and beyond cities – 1st April, Glasgow, The Lighthouse
Creating inclusive, prosperous places to work – 29th April, Dundee, Malmaison Hotel
Creating inclusive, prosperous places to live – 27th May, Glasgow, The Lighthouse
The events are free of charge. If you would like to book a place at one, two or all three events or for more information, please contact Dr. Georgiana Varna