The Scotch whisky industry looks set to benefit from a £62 million Tay Cities Deal investment in the James Hutton Institute.
Bosses at the Invergowrie research centre welcomed the signing of the heads of terms for the landmark funding announcement, which includes windfalls for its International Barley Hub and Advanced Plant Growth Centre, declaring it a “huge vote of confidence” for the area.
The £62 million cash injection means projects headed under Securing our Food Production Capability are the single highest funded area of the Tay Cities Deal.
Professor Colin Campbell, chief executive of the James Hutton Institute, said: “The City Deal is a huge vote of confidence in Tayside.
“Both projects we are involved in represent significant investment in the future of this region in key sectors for the regional and national economy, and have the potential to unlock substantial economic benefits.
“Our governments, industry partners and colleagues across academia were instrumental in achieving this outcome and we owe them and the City Deal teams many thanks.”
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The International Barley Hub was created to develop a platform for the translation of barley research and innovation into economic, social and environmental benefits.
It will support an industry worth £600 million to the UK economy each year and bosses hope to use it to establish a more streamlined and joined-up approach to the brewing, whisky and food value chain.
The Advanced Plant Growth Centre will be a new research facility designed to be at the forefront of emerging technology and to deliver increased commercial, economic and environmental benefits to the global food and drink sector.
James Brosnan, director of research at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, said the announcement could provide significant benefits for one of Scotland’s largest export industries.
He said: “The confirmation that the International Barley Hub has been given the go-ahead in the Tay Cities Deal is great news for Scottish science and will help ensure the continued success of the Scotch whisky industry, which relies on a resilient supply of high-quality malting barley.”
As part of the agreement, the UK Government has committed to a £20 million investment in the International Barley Hub and to deliver a further £25 million for the development of the Advanced Plant Growth Centre.
The Scottish Government will invest a total of £17 million to the two projects over the same period. Both could be fully established within three years.
It is hoped that through the investment, Tayside will become central to an industry that could produce consistent, high-quality produce all year-round.
Both centres have already embarked on “soft starts” to allow early delivery of collaboration, information-sharing and cross-fertilisation of ideas between project partners and the sectors involved.