The Aberdeen City Region Deal comprises of six Key Project areas:
The Aberdeen City Region Deal will establish a new, world class international Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) to support innovation of the oil and gas industry in the North East, the rest of Scotland and across the whole of the UK.
The intention of the OGTC is to become the global centre for solving offshore oil and gas mature basin, subsea and decommissioning technology challenges. In doing so local partners believe it will become a technology leader for the UK internationally and will generate a substantial competitive advantage for both the UK Continental Shelf basin and UK oil and gas supply chain industry.
The OGTC will have a key role to play in terms of maximising the economic recovery from the UK Continental Shelf, anchoring the supply chain for the longer term, supporting growth in internationalisation and ensuring the retention of high value jobs in the North East, the rest of Scotland and across the whole of the UK.
The OGTC will be industry-led, but will harness world-leading energy related research in Scotland (including from the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University) and energy related research being undertaken in other countries. As the leading UK centre for technology collaboration within industry, and between industry and R&D Institutes, the OGTC will work with partner organisations including the Oil & Gas Authority and Scottish Enterprise, Innovate UK and the national network of Catapult Centres. It will also draw on the knowledge and expertise of the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and the Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) aligning their activity and considering how best to align these assets in the future.
Agri-Food & Nutrition Hub for Innovation
The Deal will deliver an Agri-Food and Nutrition Hub for Innovation which will position Aberdeen City and Shire as an international hub of innovation excellence – maximising the opportunity from the existing research base, primary producers and food processors. The Hub will also stimulate higher levels of innovation for both existing companies and new starts/spinouts across the wider food supply chain. This will include start-ups and spinouts from the sustainable agriculture and seafood sectors.
The Agri-Food and Nutrition hub for innovation will maximise the opportunity from existing research and development expertise in the universities and research institutes. The Hub will identify opportunities in sustainable agriculture and nutrition for commercial product development and innovation. The Hub will also have a strong focus on the agriculture supply chain, provenance, healthy eating, nutraceuticals and functional foods, as well as being a flagship project for Scotland’s Food and Drink industry.
Bio-Therapeutic Hub for Innovation
Local partners want to use the City Region Deal to position the North East of Scotland as the location of choice for companies engaged in R&D and commercialisation of the next generation of Bio-Therapeutics for modern epidemics, through the creation of the Aberdeen Bio-Therapeutic Hub for Innovation. This Hub will act as an incubator and accelerator for new and existing life science companies spun out of higher education institutes.
The Hub will comprise high quality office and laboratory space, with essential Life Science equipment. It will also have specific life science company support structures ranging from quality/regulatory to business accelerator and HR support. It is estimated that there will be a 40:60 split between offices and laboratories with some shared space and some company specific spaces based on demand. It will provide:
• Core facilities for industry based researchers and academia to access appropriate infrastructure to facilitate the rapid progression of candidate therapeutics through the development and approval process.
• Specialist incubator space for SME’s and university spin-outs to innovate and develop their products and grow their business.
• Specialist accelerator support to help the companies grow to their full potential.
• An environment where industry-based and academic researchers can adopt collaborative/cooperative, open innovation approach while at the same time ensuring protection of intellectual property and know how.
• Seek to foster greater international alliances by optimising and building on existing international links, potentially with the Texas Medical Centre, through a focus on bio-therapeutic development.
The City Deal will support increased delivery of ultrafast fibre connectivity supporting a region wide sensor network. In turn, this investment will feed a regional data platform from which business, residential and public services can develop innovative applications.
Priority will be given to connecting ultrafast fibre to the business and industrial parks across the region. To make rural areas more competitive will require investment in ultrafast fibre along the development corridors to key employment centres and leisure locations:
• The A944 to Kingswells and Westhill;
• The A96 corridor to Blackburn, Kintore, Inverurie and Huntly; and
• The A90 southbound to include the major industrial estates at Portlethen and Stonehaven.
While there are obvious connectivity benefits for people and businesses there are also benefits for the ‘Internet of Things’. Key to this will be the deployment of sensors across the region to collate data on traffic flows, environmental issues such as flooding, people flows, stability of the built environment and many other applications.
The City Region Deal will contribute to the project initially through a commitment of up to £25 million from both the UK Government (£12.5 million) and the Scottish Government (£12.5 million) towards off-site non-operational road infrastructure improvements (subject to an acceptable business case). The investment of up to £25 million in supporting infrastructure is predicated on the delivery of the core harbour expansion project by Aberdeen Harbour Board.
Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council will invest up to £11 million.
Strategic Transport Appraisal
The North East of Scotland will shortly benefit from substantial investment in its strategic transport infrastructure including:
• The construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route;
• Balmedie to Tipperty dualling;
• Haudagain junction improvements; and
• Rail upgrade between Aberdeen and Inverurie.
Work to begin dualling the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness is also being planned.
In order to realise the full potential of the area a transport appraisal (supported by UK Government and Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and local partners) will take a 20 year strategic view of the transport implications of the investment unlocked by this Deal across all modes including road and rail. This work will commence in 2016 and will be based on Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance. The appraisal will recognise the priorities of local, regional and national transport plans and programmes as well as the existing work outlined above.
The scope of work will include addressing issues at key gateways into Aberdeen; enabling safe, reliable and attractive connections (road and public transport) along key strategic corridors which promote economic growth; tying together transport infrastructure and development planning/management, on a city/region basis; and facilitating the City Centre Masterplan.