Heriot-Watt University made history today - when the Edinburgh and South East of Scotland City Deal was formally signed.
The Deal is an agreement between the UK Government, Scottish Government, the local authorities of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and the region’s universities and colleges. There are also regional partners from the private and third sectors.
The UK and Scottish governments will invest £300m each over the next 15 years with other partners committing to an additional £700m. The £1.3bn investment is anticipated to generate over £5bn worth of Gross Value Added (GVA) over the Deal’s lifespan.
Heriot-Watt will receive funding for a new robotarium – which will be a world leading innovation centre in robotics and AI.
Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University said:
“This is an historic moment and Heriot-Watt University is proud to be part of a deal which will ensure a bright economic future for Scotland and indeed, the rest of the UK.
“It is clear that education and universities have a large part to play and we will be working in partnership with others to ensure our city community can prosper and achieve its obvious potential as the leading international research hub for digital innovation.
“Our frontier research and educational skills in digital technology and its application in artificial intelligence and robotics are already shaping and driving the future and taking Scottish innovation to the world. Part of our partnership in the deal will enable the creation of a national new robotarium facility at Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities.
“The region’s super-computing capabilities will also be strengthened with investment in a data analysis facility, which will help organisations use data to innovate their sectors.
“We are ready to showcase our fantastic research, and as world-leaders in our field, we are delighted to be part of the signing of the City Deal today.”
City of Edinburgh Council Leader, Adam McVey, speaking on behalf of all local authority partners, said: ““The agreement of this ambitious Deal heralds the beginning of a transformative and inclusive programme which will help share our success right across the region.”
“This investment will allow us to unlock the region’s potential to become a global powerhouse in data driven innovation through our exceptional research and development activities, whilst the commitment to a skills programme will enhance job prospects for everyone and allow us to capitalise on the opportunities technology and innovation creates.
"We will also greatly enhance the region’s infrastructure through significant funding for transport projects and housing development to build a vibrant region for people and businesses to thrive in.”
Among the key commitments in the Deal are:
£350m for world leading innovation centres
£20m capital funding for a first-class music and performance venue and Edinburgh’s first purpose built music venue in a century
£140m for a crucially needed A720 city bypass at the Sheriffhall Roundabout and further enhancements across West Edinburgh
£25m for a regional skills programme to support improved career opportunities for disadvantaged groups
£65m of new funding for housing to unlock strategic development sites.