ScotlandIS, the trade body for the digital technologies industry, is expanding its capability in both cyber security and data through the development of two new clusters with the support of Scottish Enterprise. Clusters are designed to promote economic growth by maximising the innovation and business potential of a region.
Cyber security and data were identified as two such opportunities in the ScotlandIS 2016 Manifesto. The focus on cyber has been underlined through the Scottish Government’s Cyber action plans published last year. Through the formalisation of the cyber cluster and an increased focus on the data supply sector, ScotlandIS will accentuate Scotland’s reputation as a centre for technology excellence and innovation.
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills said:
“Scotland has a rapidly evolving group of innovative cyber security and data supply companies, world class academic expertise and an agile ecosystem that can help us capitalise on our complementary strengths across the digital space.
“I welcome ScotlandIS’ evolving role, developing into a cluster management organisation which will, in turn, contribute to Scotland’s global position in data and cyber security goods and services.”
These new clusters will enable ScotlandIS members and Scottish businesses to collaborate and develop new products and services; open up new markets and compete globally.
To deliver this growth, ScotlandIS will be appointing three new members of staff, a head of cyber security who will build on the work already underway to develop a strong specialist cyber community in Scotland; a head of data who will support those businesses across Scotland specialising in data, and work closely with The Data Lab.
ScotlandIS is also recruiting a head of the North East to support members and build on ScotlandIS’ presence in the Aberdeen and wider North East area. This is a partnership arrangement with ONE Digital and Entrepreneurship and the person taking on this role will help deliver our shared aspirations to develop the digital economy locally.
Polly Purvis, chief executive of ScotlandIS said:
“This move is part of our evolution, developing ScotlandIS as a membership and cluster management organisation. It enables us to deepen the value our membership provides, creating stronger expertise to support our members and represent the booming Scottish technology sector.
“We have already done this with MaaS Scotland, bringing together small and large members to work collaboratively in a cluster, on smart transport. Over the last eighteen months we have been hosting the Cyber Cluster Co-ordinator, working with a range of specialist cyber companies to build a vibrant community, so we’re pleased to be building on this strong foundation.
“Increasingly, many of our members across the industry are also becoming data specialists, and we want to reflect that and support the development of new products and services, as well as assist businesses across all clusters to open up new markets both within Scotland and internationally.”
Scottish Enterprise is prioritising data driven innovation and cyber security as areas of high opportunity for the tech sector in Scotland. ScotlandIS and Scottish Enterprise have a shared ambition to develop internationally competitive clusters in these areas and the expansion of ScotlandIS cluster management activities will help to ensure that the opportunity for growth is maximised.
David Smith, sector director – digital technology at Scottish Enterprise, said
“We are delighted to support this initiative with ScotlandIS as we know from experience that industry-led cluster management will enable Scotland to capitalise on its strengths in data and cyber security. The data driven innovation opportunity as a whole is worth an estimated £20bn to the Scottish economy and we’re working with a range of partners to help them exploit this opportunity in order to drive business productivity and growth.”
ScotlandIS already co-manages the mobility as a service (MaaS) cluster with Technology Scotland. In 2015 ScotlandIS was awarded Bronze status through the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis and is now progressing to Silver accreditation.