Celebrating a successful year and looking forward to continuing the great work in 2019

December 24, 2018


After helping to attract more than £150 million into our cities in combined investment and funding through the power of the collective, the Scottish Cities Alliance is looking to build on this work in 2019 with a new Investment Prospectus which promotes billions of pounds of investment opportunity.

The Alliance is the unique collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government working together to promote the country’s great economic potential around the world through the collective promotion of investments, a Smart Cities programme and Hydrogen workstream.

The new Investment Prospectus was launched to a packed audience of leaders, investors and key decision makers at the new V&A Dundee in September, sponsored by construction giant Robertson, and supported by the global professional services firm ARUP, and is available online at www.scottishcities.org.uk/pitchbook

The latest EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey in 2018 again highlighted that Scotland is second only to London as the most popular part of the UK to invest in, and the Alliance partnership will build on this successful track record to help attract further future investment that will stimulate economic activity, and create business growth by working with partner agencies such as Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the Department of International Trade.

In February, working with Scottish Enterprise, the Alliance held a major investor event at the Scottish Government’s headquarters in London, Scotland House, where investment propositions from Aberdeen and Edinburgh were presented to a select investor audience. The opportunities showcased at the event continue to receive ongoing international investor interest.

“Working together as a collective, Scotland’s cities have had a fantastic year. The launch of the new Investment Prospectus at the new V&A Dundee is one highlight, but across the seven cities, we have an ever-evolving positive story to tell,” said the Alliance Chair, Leader of Dundee City Council, Councillor John Alexander. “Obviously there have been challenges, but by working together, we have brought in an additional £15m of European funding for our Smart Cities programme which is continuing to attract attention from around the world, as people see the benefit of collaboration and want to know how we do it.

“And our hydrogen work continues to push boundaries and is helping to bring the technology here early and reap the benefit of cleaner air, while driving forward using innovative technology.

“The strength of our joint working will help Scotland’s city economies to thrive in what could be a more challenging year for attracting investment from abroad.”

Significant funding from Europe was secured by the Alliance for the Smart Cities programme and announced earlier this month, taking the total with match funding to £60million. Using this investment Scotland’s seven cities are working collectively to become more attractive, livable and resilient through data and digital technology – improving the quality of life for their citizens and making them more attractive to potential investors who are increasingly looking at sustainability as a key draw.

This second injection of funding to the 8th City – The Smart City Programme enables the cities to further expand the activity currently underway through the £24m Phase 1 of the European Regional Development Funding programme which is transforming everything from street lighting to public safety to controlling energy use to make life smarter using open data. This new wave of investment will help the cities build on that work.

Phase 2 involves Scotland’s cities working collaboratively on a range of projects to maximise the economic potential from data and new smarter ways of working to improve services. This includes:

  • Mobile Working, including the development and deployment of mobile applications enabling out-of-office access and updating of data from business systems, reducing operating costs and enhancing service quality.
  • Smart Infrastructure projects using an ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) approach, connecting devices to generate and improve data to aid councils and partners to reduce energy usage, improve reporting and service delivery, and inform data-driven decision making.

The Alliance has also made great progress for Scotland in hydrogen technologies, by working with the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) for the commercialisation of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and hydrogen fuel cell buses – Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe (JIVE/2). These are the most ambitious projects to-date, deploying large scale hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and fuel-cell buses across Europe. Aberdeen and Dundee are partners in these projects and we look forward to further deployment of fuel cell buses in Aberdeen and the first deployments in Dundee.

Through this work, Scotland is positioning itself as one of Europe’s leading early adopters of hydrogen technology which will help to attract investment into sectors such as manufacturing, engineering and encourage the commercialisation of hydrogen technologies over the coming years. As well as the economic benefits, zero emission hydrogen fuel cell buses also contribute to the achievement of Scotland’s challenging climate change targets, as well as improving local air quality in our cities.

Further projects of scale within this sector are being scoped across cities and regions to ensure that Scotland continues to be at the forefront of this dynamic technology. Research, economic and supply chain developments are pivotal to this scoping.

Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The cities continue to be the driving force behind the success of the Scottish economy. Their collaborative work across a range of economic sectors demonstrate Scotland is open, connected and makes a positive contribution internationally.

“I am proud to be part of an Alliance that recognises both the challenges and opportunities the digital age brings. Through the 8th City Smart Cities Programme we can improve the lives of Scottish citizens and put the cities in a strong position to access investment.”