Research by the University of St Andrews could help in disease diagnosis

New research led by the University of St Andrews could hold the key to the diagnosis of the early stages of various diseases and lead to new drug discoveries.

The research, published in Nature Communications, has developed an innovative new way to hold samples using sound whilst they are gently imaged using light. The ability to hold and image objects will have a profound impact across biomedical sciences, especially those focused on disease identification, neuroscience and developmental biology.

 

Professor Kishan Dholakia from the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy said: ” This is a new way to perform drug-based studies for cardiovascular disease and developmental biology.  We anticipate this approach can also be used for high throughput drug discovery, an important topic for future healthcare.”

 

Click to read the full story.

 

 

 

Project to revitalise River Leven communities secures investment

A project to revitalise the River Leven in Fife has secured more than £300,00 in funding.

 

One of the first initiatives of The Leven Catchment Project has been awarded £25,000 from Sustans Scotland’s Community Links scheme and £65,000 from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) Water Environment Fund.

 

The funding from Sustrans and SEPA will finance feasibility and scoping work, which started last month, for the ‘Connectivity Project’ – one of a series of projects designed to help deliver a wider vision for the region which focuses on a 5km stretch of the River Leven at Levenmouth.

 

Plans include developing a series of paths to connect the isolated communities along the river and unlocking opportunities on vacant and derelict land in the area.

 

“The River Leven catchment in Mid-Fife was historically home to several hundred mills and factories, with a proud population of miners and workers in manufacturing industries,” explained SEPA water specialist Pauline Silverman.

 

“There are now significant challenges in the area and the river has become a barrier between communities, disconnecting people and towns from each other.  The purpose of the Leven Catchment Project is to achieve environmental improvements to spark new ways of working with key partners and communities to create social and economic opportunities.”

 

Key partners in the project with SEPA are Fife Council, the Forth Rivers Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Fife College and Scottish Water.

 

Visit the SEPA website for more information about the project.

Fife packaging firm plans £1.1m investments

Fife-based packing group, Pitreavie, has revealed ambitious plans to invest £1.1 million this year, including on a new office complex and expanded warehouse at the company’s Glenrothes head office.

 

Founded in 2010 by two friends, Pitreavie has rapidly grown from a Fife-based two-man operation into a national supplier with over 100 employees and an annual turnover of more than £13 million.

 

Last month it acquired Aberdeen-based Leiper Associated Packing, taking the number of businesses it owns in the city to three, and in 2018, it acquired a company in Worcester, its first acquisition south of the border, opening up new markets across the Midlands and beyond.

 

Its plans for Fife include the development of a packaging Centre of Excellence where customers can learn about new products and how best to package and transport their goods.  This new development is expected to be open in September.

 

Gordon Delaney, Group Commercial Director said: “Last year, we announced a large investment of £650,000 and spoke of our future plans.  These plans are now coming to fruition and we are thrilled our growth strategy is ahead of schedule allowing us to use expert knowledge in more locations, helping more customers.”

 

Visit the company’s website for the full story.

Fife Fintech Academy to expand after successful pilot

The pilot of a new initiative to address potential skills gaps in Scotland’s fintech community has been hailed a success.

A trial course, run jointly by Dunfermline payment specialist Renovite Technologies and Fife College, took place last month.

 

Around 15 participants with varying levels of experience, from trainees through to seasoned software developers, took part in the course designed to provide a solid foundation in retail card payments which could then be applied diectly to a work environment.

 

The course was the first to be run since Scotland’s first Fintech Academy was launched in Fife last September.  The Academy,  which is supported by a consortium of fintech companies, including Renovite and Dunfermline-base software firm Ingenico, Fife Council, Fife College and FinTech Scotland, aims to provide a steady flow of highly qualified applications for specialist fintech roles in the region to avoid a skills gap developing.

 

Jim Tomaney, Chief Operating Officer at Renovite Technologies said:

 

“It’s fantastic to see the fintech and education community coming together to promote STEM skills development and pre-empt the potential for a skills gap emerging.  I hope organisations and individuals with an interest in working in the sector continue to support and take part in the initiative and help build on its success.”

 

Following the success of the pilot course, a programme of further courses will now be rolled out – contact Fife College for more information.

Fife payment business to showcase wares on international trade mission

Payment specialist Renovite Technologies has been selected to showcase its payments technology to Swiss and Austrian financial firms.

 

The Dunfermline business has been selected by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and Scottish Development International (SDI) to take part in a fintech trade mission to Vienna and Zurich later this month.

 

Taking place from January 23-24, the mission aims to stimulate business between the UK delegation and financial institutions in Switzerland and Austria.  Renovite and a select group of other Fintech companies will be meeting with banks, venture capitalists and other organisations with an interest in fintech and innovation.

 

Previous fintech missions to Switzerland led by the DIT have subsequently generated £45 million in business deals.

 

Jim Tomaney, chief operating officer at Renovite Technologies said:

 

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a delegate for the mission and look forward to showcasing how our work is enabling positive change using state-of-the-art cloud technology.

 

“It’s really a very positive sign that major financial organisations are now rising to the challenges and demands of an increasingly complex payments environment by looking to businesses that can offer the kind of agility and innovation they can’t source from traditional suppliers.”

 

Renovite Technologies, which also has offices in California and New Delhi, established its European headquarters in Dunfermline in 2017.  The UK team has grown from four to 20 since then and plans to add another ten employees – including six trainees – by the end of 2019.

 

Click for more information about the trade mission.

 

 

 

Scottish Government announces additional funding for SMEs

Businesses will be able to access more than £100 million to help them expand and unlock investment through the next phase of the Scottish Growth Scheme.

 

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Scotland will have the chance to apply for financial support, including micro-finance loans of up to £25,000, debt or loan finance of up to £100,000 and equity investment deals of up to £2 million.

 

As part of the initiative, Scottish Enterprise has also introduced a loans scheme offering loans from £250,000 to £2 million, or up to £5 million in exceptional circumstances, for growth-focused SMEs.

 

Announcing the funding, Economy Secretary, Derek Mackay, said:

 

“This next phase of the Scottish Growth Scheme will unlock substantial investment for the most ambitious new and existing businesses, helping them scale-up for the future.

 

“Amid the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s important that the wider business community remains confident that access to finance should not hinder their ambition or growth.  This direct investment will boost the economy and give even more companies access to vital capital.”

 

For more information about the fund, SMEs should contact Scottish Enterprise.

Briggs Marine Turnover up by 17%

Briggs Marine and Environmental Services is reporting a 17% increase in turnover.

 

The Burntisland-based company, which supplies a range of services throughout the marine industry, has just published its new accounts for the year ending March 2018 at Companies House, showing an annual turnover of £58 million, 17% more than the previous year.

 

Collieson Briggs, Managing Director of the Briggs Group, said: “The marketplace remains challenging, but the company has delivered a profitable performance in the year to March 2018, and in the short to medium term, I expect the company to continue delivering improved operational performance in the year 2018/19.  It is great to see that across the whole group, we continue to be successful in winning new contracts, as this further develops our presence and reputation in the marine services industry.”

 

Click to read the whole story.

 

 

Partnership appoints new Chair

The Fife Economy Partnership announces the appointment of Michael Longstaffe as its new Chair.

 

Chief Executive Officer at Smith Anderson – the UK’s leading manufacturer of paper bags, based in Kirkcaldy – Michael was previously chair of the Partnership’s Trade Development Group and is a longstanding director of the Fife Chamber of Commerce.

 

Retiring Chair Stephen Edmiston (right) welcomes new Chair, Michael Longstaffe (left)

Michael will be assisted by Ian Palmer, Managing Director of John Fergus & Co Ltd, who was elected the Partnership’s Vice-Chair.

 

The appointments were made at the Fife Economy Partnership (FEP) Executive Group’s quarterly meeting held last month at John Fergus & Co Ltd’s Inchdairnie Distillery in Glenrothes when members thanked its outgoing Vice-Chair, Stephen Edmiston.

 

Stephen, who has been an active member of the Fife Economy Partnership for a number of years, was presented with a crystal award in recognition of his Vice-Chairmanship over the past four years.

 

Director of Operations at Ingenico in Dalgety Bay, Stephen was elected Vice-Chair in January 2015 and took over the Chair’s responsibilities in June 2018.

 

Cllr Altany Craik, Convener of Fife Council’s Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Committee, praised the work carried out by Stephen during his four year term of office saying:

 

“We’re all indebted to Stephen for the commitment and leadership he’s given the Partnership.  Under his leadership, the Partnership launched a new Economic Strategy for Fife and refreshed and reviewed the structure of the FEP, setting up a number of business-led delivery groups to take forward our new strategy along with an annual business forum with local MPs and MSPs.

 

“We are delighted that Michael and Ian have both agreed to take on the respective rols of Chair and Vice-Chair.  Their collective wealth of experience will bring great value to the FEP and we look forward to working with them both as we take on the big challenges and opportunities facing Fife’s economy.”

Additional £50m Scottish government funding for Tay Cities Region

The Scottish Government has announced a further £50 million investment in the Tay Cities Region for new transport and industry projects.

 

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said £40 million would be invested in the Cross Tay Link Road in Perth, with the remaining £10 million funding an ‘industrial investment programme’ to support manufacturing businesses in Dundee, Perth, Angus and the north of Fife.

 

This funding is additional to the Scottish and UK governments’ commitment to each invest £150 million in the Tay Cities Deal.

 

The Tay Cities Region Deal brings together public, private and voluntary organisations in Angus, Dundee, North East Fife and Perth and Kinross.  The Heads of Terms for the Deal was signed on 22 November 2018 which is estimated to secure more than 6,000 jobs and lever in more than £400 million in investment over the next ten years.

 

Click for more information on the investment announcement.

University of St Andrews strikes new European deal

The University of St Andrews has signed a partnership agreement with one of Europe’s leading universities.

 

The University is to expand its existing cooperation with the University of Bonn under an agreement that provides for new and far-reaching collaborations in research, study and administration.

 

The two universities have agreed to provide increased exchange opportunities for students, academic staff and professional and administrative staff.

 

Staff and students from St Andrews will be given the opportunity to research, teach and study at Bonn, and vice-versa.  The agreement also provides for the establishment of joint study and research programmes and work shadowing offers for administrative staff.  Both universities also intend to develop joint research and teaching activities.

 

University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Mapstone, said: “We are delighted to have signed a wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Bonn, which sets out our commitment to deepening our partnership in the years to come and, very importantly, will see a continual exchange of people and ideas between our two institutions, and between Scotland and Europe.”

 

Click to read the full story.