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by Staff reporter
09 March 2022
Scotland 5G Centre to play a key role in delivering government's national strategy for economic transformation

Scotland 5G Centre to play a key role in delivering government's national strategy for economic transformation

The chief executive of the Scotland 5G Centre has said the organisation will act as the “lynchpin” for delivering the Scottish Government’s recently launched national strategy for economic transformation.

Unveiled by finance secretary Kate Forbes at the start of this month, the strategy aims to generate economic growth by promoting investment, start-up business ventures and new green industries.

Scotland 5G Centre chief executive Paul Coffey said that as 5G will be key to delivering the plan it is “vital” that the organisation “is completely embedded in this strategy”.

“What is clear, is that in order to lead and deliver economic transformation and prosperity, the new strategy is heavily reliant on digital connectivity,” he said.

“New innovations and entrepreneurial ideas need the newest technology. Connectivity underpins the strategy’s aim to support every community in every region. It is also the foundation crucial to enable and support productivity gains of existing regional industries and enterprises.

“As Scotland’s gateway for advanced connectivity, advancing Scotland’s wireless connectivity, including 5G is front and centre of the transformational plan. 

“The Scotland 5G Centre acts as an enabler and already work with partners, businesses, public sector, universities and communities in Scotland and the rest of the UK to capture the opportunities and benefits of 5G.

“What is clear is that this national strategy not only recognises the importance of this collaboration to drive productivity, it also recognises the need to invest in quality infrastructure and connectivity to ensure the strategy’s success.”

He added: “The Scotland 5G Centre is the lynchpin to innovating, influencing and setting the pathway for the delivery of the National Strategy.”

Funded by the Scottish Government, the centre is a partnership between Glasgow and Strathclyde universities as well as the Scottish Futures Trust. Its stated aim is to “accelerate the demand, deployment and adoption of 5G in Scotland” to “transform” the country’s  economy and communities.

It operates a number of innovation hubs, with its site in Dumfries partnering with South of Scotland Enterprise to bring together SMEs, businesses, academic and public sector partners in the region.

“The centre supports local networks and businesses and identifies transformational interventions,” Coffey said.

“We are currently working with agriculture to bring innovative changes that provide efficiencies and cost savings. In healthcare, digital solutions are offering huge benefits to patients and families and we will be launching this spring our first innovation challenge focused in this sector.”

When unveiling the government’s strategy, Forbes said it marked a “step-change in how we approach the economy” with the goal being to “deliver economic growth that significantly outperforms the last decade".

As part of the plan the government has pledged to embed entrepreneurial learning across education and skills, win greater shares of domestic and export markets, and improve connectivity and digital infrastructure.

The plan was immediately dismissed by the Scottish Trades Union Congress, which said it included a "sprinkling of good ideas", but warned it could fail to deliver real changes. Businessman Sir Tom Hunter dismissed it as a “long wish-list with no magic wand to deliver it”.

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