The final signing of the Tay Cities Deal has been hailed as long-awaited good news for north east Fife.
Many millions of pounds of investment in education, research and business could provide a significant boost and bring hundreds of high spec jobs to the region.
The main winner is St Andrews University which has been allocated more than £26 million for its Eden Campus project at Guardbridge.
The cash will help the university to further develop the site of the town’s former paper mill, sparking a bright future for its green energy centre.
It would see new industry located alongside academic expertise and has the potential to unlock further inward investment over five years.
In addition, a robust business case will be prepared in the hope of landing a £2 million Scottish Government investment in Eden Enterprise, a new business incubator for start-up companies coming from the region’s universities.
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And the long-term benefits of the deal could stretch as far south as Methil, thanks to investment in infrastructure at various ports to improve supply chain capabilities.
Derek Watson, St Andrews University’s quaestor and factor, said the funding was being seen as a huge vote of confidence.
“This looks like long-awaited good news for the Tay Cities region and north east Fife,” he said.
“The allocation of over £26 million for our Eden Campus project at Guardbridge is a vital step in our broader vision to create hundreds of new, high-value jobs and bring smart, sustainable industry to this part of Scotland.”
He added: “We’ll be working closely on the detail of the deal with our partners at Fife Council and the Scottish and UK governments with the aim of ensuring we can move as quickly as possible to realise the benefits of this investment.
“At a time of wider national uncertainty, this is a very welcome vote of confidence in the potential of Scottish education and skills.”
North East Fife SNP MP Stephen Gethins was particularly pleased with the investment in the Eden Campus development.
He said it was great news and added: “The university has already made a huge commitment to the area with its investment in Eden Campus, relocating over 400 jobs to Guardbridge and playing a crucial part in the regeneration of the area.”
Councillor Karen Marjoram, Fife Council’s depute SNP leader, said she was very pleased to sign the deal on behalf of the local authority.