Five years ago, Glasgow City Innovation District (GCID) was launched as a hub to promote collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Based on an internationally recognised model that created Barcelona’s 22@ District and Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Innovation Districts aim to improve productivity, create jobs, and attract inward investment for many cities around the world.
The past five years have seen significant growth in both the Glasgow City Innovation District as well as Glasgow’s innovation ecosystem.
Aligned to the development of the city’s tech, digital, and creative sectors, GCID has supported Glasgow’s tech economy to become the largest in Scotland and one of the fastest growing hubs for venture capital investment in the UK.
Through its ethos as a place to “live, work, play and innovate,” GCID has seen committed and future investment value across the District at over £1 billion resulting in new commercial and innovation developments and new partnerships being forged between businesses, the University of Strathclyde and industry.
Glasgow City Innovation District project director Alisdair Gunn said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Innovation District. Since 2019 there’s been huge investment, property developments and business growth within the area and we’re excited to continue supporting and celebrating the incredible growth of the district’s innovation ecosystem.”
The £1 billion of committed and future investment is spread across office and co-working space for the science, tech, and creative sectors, residential accommodation, public spaces, and transportation.
A key development is the District’s Met Tower where the UK’s largest digital and tech hub developer Bruntwood SciTech has announced plans to invest £60m into creating a new, large scale, digital and tech hub.
GCID helped develop propositions to benefit from the UK Government’s £100 million investment in a Glasgow “Deeptech” Innovation Accelerator – one of only three in the UK (the others being Greater Manchester and the West Midlands).
It has also been involved in developing Glasgow’s Investment Zone , a £160m investment over ten years by the UK and Scottish governments to drive growth and innovation amongst priority industry sectors including Life Sciences, Digital and Tech, and Advanced Manufacturing.
Bringing the Innovation Ecosystem Together
GCID exists to develop and promote an inclusive innovation ecosystem in Glasgow, and since its launch in 2019 the District has supported various initiatives to for innovation across industries, both in the UK and internationally.
To help build a self-sustaining ecosystem, GCID has developed Glasgow Tech Fest, which brings together founders, investors, leaders, and ecosystem builders for a day of panels, keynotes and fireside chats
Tech Fest has spurred GCID to develop the inaugural Glasgow Tech Week in May 2024, which will have a range of industry events held across the city.
GCID is a member of three industry organisations, national and international. Dedicated to the professional development of innovation districts, GCID’s growing relationship with the UK Innovation Districts Group (UK IDG), Global Business Districts (GBD) Innovation Club and the International Association of Science Parks and Innovation Areas (IASP) has lead to partnerships, including GCID’s space cluster.
The district will also host the annual IASP European Division conference in April this year, aiming to attract an international audience.
UK Shared Prosperity Funding (SPF)
In recognition of GCID’s role in providing specialised innovation support in 2023, Glasgow City Council awarded GCID £900,000 of SPF funding to develop a range of programmes and initiatives to support innovation.
GCID plans to use SPF funding to create a GCID Innovation Programme focused on accelerating the commercialisation of DeepTech amongst early stage startups.
“The responsibility to create a Tech Ecosystem for a City is truly one of the best opportunities,” Alisdair Gunn wrote in a post on LinkedIn.
“Whether it’s fostering collaboration, nurturing business growth or creating a thriving community, all of us at Glasgow City Innovation District wish to thank our wider ecosystem colleagues, startup/scaleup founders and leadership group for all the support on reaching this latest milestone. Looking forward to supporting the scaling the City’s Innovation Economy over the years ahead.”