The leaders of Fife, Angus, Perth & Kinross and Dundee City councils are supporting the flagship Tay Cities Deal project, which would create up to 500 new jobs, to take another step forward in delivering the Deal.

Earlier this year, the Tay Cities Deal submission document was announced, outlining projects designed to attract investment to develop and retain highly skilled jobs in Tayside and North East Fife. As part of this, The University of St Andrews has launched a £24m bid to further redevelop the former paper mill at its Guardbridge site.

Council leaders and representatives from Angus, Perth & Kinross, Dundee City and Fife councils yesterday visited this flagship Tay Cities Deal project, designed to enhance Scotland's position as a leader in innovation, sustainable development and biotechnology, to gain further commitment to the Deal from government ministers and various government bodies.

To secure the Deal, the council leaders are seeking funding from the Scottish and UK governments and their agencies, together with further backing from councils, colleges and universities and the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The new campus is an Eden for the East of Scotland’s economy.

St Andrews has already developed a £25m green energy centre at the 36-acre Eden Campus. The centre pumps hot water four miles to heat 43 university buildings at the main St Andrews site and 2,600 student rooms. Over 350 university staff will relocate from St Andrews to the Eden Campus in 2019.

The Cities Deal investment would see the redevelopment of an additional 5,500 sq m of existing derelict buildings, creating approximately 500 new technical, academic and support jobs.  Supporting industry and academic collaboration to accelerate innovation could have a long-term economic impact to the Scottish economy of £3.7bn in 25 years. 

This would harness the capacity to co-locate industry alongside top academic expertise from across Scotland, enabling the exploitation of emerging commercial opportunities. 

The development will form a central hub for innovation and for the growing collective of scientists and technologists in highly skilled jobs who are harnessing the power of science and technology to change lives.

It could also unlock £75m of private-sector inward investment in five years, and house an Advance Materials Centre including a bio-refinery, a zero-carbon integrated energy community, and enterprise centre for innovators and start-ups.

Fife Council co-leader Councillor David Ross said: “I am very pleased that this ambitious project to further develop the Eden Campus forms a central part of the Tay Cities Deal. The new infrastructure would not only regenerate this site, but also enable the development of new technologies to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s world. It will form a nerve centre of innovation in energy systems and provide a massive boost to technology transfer within Scotland, driving high quality jobs training, skills, internationalisation and economic growth."  

Fife Council’s Cllr Karen Marjoram, Tay Cities Joint Committee Member, added:  “This, along with other Fife proposals within the Tay Cities Deal, will enable the region to become even more attractive for inward investment and accelerated economic growth. The Tay Cities forms part of our plans to improve economic outcomes for everyone across the whole region and develop a fairer Fife.”

Dundee City Council Leader Cllr John Alexander said: City region deals act as enablers to drive inclusive economic growth by enhancing alignment between national, regional and local ambitions, strategies and resources. At the heart of the Tay Cities Deal is an ambition to transform the economy, create jobs and opportunities, reduce poverty, create a fairer society and, ultimately, build a region fit for the 21st Century”. 

Angus Council Leader Cllr Bob Myles added: “Invention and entrepreneurship are at the centre of our collective ambition for the Tay Cities Deal. The realisation of projects like this, which complement those being proposed across the whole area, will stimulate our economy and revitalise our communities, offering new opportunities for our workforce of the future.”

Derek Watson, the University’s Quaestor and Factor, said: "With Tay Cities Deal help, we can continue to redevelop buildings and provide the necessary infrastructure to co-locate exciting new industry alongside academic expertise from across Scotland. Our plans for Eden Campus are ambitious but with help from our partners in the Tay Cities region and government support we believe we can make a genuine contribution to the government's strategic objectives and society as a whole."

The Guardbridge Eden Campus project includes:

  • The Eden Enterprise Centre, which will provide capacity and support for innovators, start-ups and SMEs.
  • A “living lab” environment to maximise knowledge transfer and learning to the community.
  • An Advance Materials Centre incorporating circular bio-economy, biorefinery, and carbon reduction.
  • The Sandpit – a zero carbon integrated energy community to support industry and academia to create new ideas for innovation in a “sandpit” environment.