University of Glasgow Unveils Plans for Hi-Tech Govan Campus

The innovation campus could create “Scotland’s Silicon Valley on the Clyde”, says University of Glasgow principal, Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli. 

The University of Glasgow plans to build a high-tech campus in Govan with the goal of transforming the area into a centre of excellence for nanotechnology and precision medicine.

The university has committed £28 million to the project, and an additional £27.5m will come from the Glasgow City region deal. It is hoped that building can get underway within the next two years. The university is bidding for a further £63m in funding for the project.

A disused car park at the southern end of the Clyde tunnel, near the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is being considered as a site for the new campus.

The campus will be comprised of two main parts – an enhanced James Watt Nanofabrication Centre that will focus on industries like nanofabrication and photonics and a Precision Medicine Living Lab. This will flow into the existing innovation zone at the QEUH.

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It is hoped that the new space will facilitate collaboration between academics and industry partners, and create hundreds of high-end jobs in the area.

University of Glasgow principal Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli said he thinks the new centre could help create “Scotland’s Silicon Valley on the Clyde,” and help the city “retake its place at the forefront of international innovation and industrial excellence”.

Muscatelli said: “I have no doubt that the innovation agenda and industries like quantum technology, nanofabrication and precision medicine can be to the 21st century Glasgow economy, what shipbuilding was in the past.”

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “It isn’t just about those high-tech academic jobs – it’s about all the other things that come with it.

“We are building homes, there will be new commercial and retail units, all sorts of new opportunities are being created.”

At present, the university has outgrown its clean room facilities on Gilmorehill in the west end, where researchers are leading the way in nanotechnology.

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With world-leading companies already collaborating with precision medicine experts in Glasgow, the move comes at a time when an expansion is desperately needed. Without room to grow, Scotland could potentially lose its edge in these two sectors.

Dr Sara Diegoli, strategic projects manager, said: “It is one of the leading nanofabrication centres in Europe. The clean room is in a Victorian building so we have some constraints when it comes to expansion.”

Prof Dame Anna Dominiczak, head of the College of Medicine, said: “Our current clinical innovation zone will be soon full. Bringing industry, NHS and academia together could put Scotland on the map. We could be the best in the world.”

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