A digital dairy project led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been awarded £50,000 in seed-corn funding by UK Research and Innovation.
The Strength in Places project will produce a detailed application aimed at establishing South-West Scotland and Cumbria as the leading region for advanced, sustainable and high-value dairy processing.
Richard Dewhurst, Head of Dairy Research Centre in SRUC’s South and West Faculty, will lead a consortium of research partners, regional and multi-national dairy-processing companies and seven enabling technology companies, to develop the Digital Dairy Value-Chain for South-West Scotland and Cumbria project.
The government funding, from the UKRI’s flagship £236m Strength in Places Fund (SIPF), will help create a more efficient and resilient dairy industry.
By using digital twinning, combining digital communications and advanced manufacturing, it will enable the tracing of milk, cheese and other products and provide assurance to retailers, wholesalers and consumers.
Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: “We are delighted to join forces with the University of Strathclyde, the University of the West of Scotland and other consortium partners, to bring about a step change in research and innovation in dairy production and processing.
“In the long term, this project will bring much-needed jobs and economic activity to this rural area.”
Strength in Places Fund panel chair, Dame Kate Barker, said: “We are pleased to recommend this bid for early-stage funding. It provides evidence of excellent research that meets business need and great potential for collaboration, by bringing together a consortium to contribute to increased growth and productivity in areas of local economic activity.”
The consortium comprises three research excellent partners (SRUC; University of Strathclyde; University of the West of Scotland); Dumfries & Galloway Council; regional and multi-national dairy-processing companies (Arla, First Milk, Lactalis Mclelland, Dale Farm); Newton Rigg College and seven enabling technology companies (Afimilk, CENSIS, Lely, Novosound, Seric, BT, Boston Networks).