Innovative new South of Scotland project AIMS to transform manufacturing

An exciting new project, being launched this week, will support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to stimulate greater activity in the South of Scotland, encouraging more innovation and greater productivity

The successful bid for funding of £3.3m to deliver the Advancing Innovative Manufacturing in the south of Scotland (AIMS) project was made by Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Councils, along with Dumfries and Galloway and Borders Colleges, South of Scotland Enterprise and key stakeholders including Skills Development Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Engineering & Manufacturing Forum and Scottish Borders Engineering Training Association. 

The Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. A full list of successful projects is available on the AMCF website. Total investment is £15.8 million, with £8.3 million from the European Regional Development Fund, £590,000 from the Scottish Government, and the remainder in match-funding from the chosen projects. 

Services will include:

  • Training and upskilling the workforce
  • Research and development investment/innovation/concept development
  • Product realisation
  • Enabling a manufacturing ecosystem

By assisting existing businesses in the regions to adopt new working practices, the AIMS project will address our ageing and decreasing working age population by making local businesses more attractive to young people and will further encourage new entrants to the region.  More homegrown businesses working with modern technology will also increase skills and therefore drive-up wage levels. 

Rob Davidson, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council's Economy and Resources Committee said: "This excellent AIMS project has come at precisely the correct time. Following the pandemic and during the current economic downturn, this is needed now more than ever.  This is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to tap into the latest innovations, helping to future proof their industry and assisting with their plans for expansion."

"This project will help firms from across both Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, hopefully providing an economic boost to the whole south of Scotland region by modernising our manufacturing businesses and upskilling our workforce. Prospering businesses and an upskilled workforce will attract other firms to our region, boosting job opportunities and increasing wages. A win-win outcome for everyone."

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) said:

"At South of Scotland Enterprise, we want our region to be the centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.

"Integral to that vision is a vibrant and forward-thinking manufacturing sector, which the AIMS project will significantly support."

"The AIMs project will give SMEs in the South of Scotland the latest equipment and software to help with product testing and development."

"This access to advanced manufacturing technologies will develop career paths and encourage innovative thinking and new ideas."

"South of Scotland Enterprise has committed up to £1.5million to the AIMS project and we look forward to working with our partners to ensure it provides significant benefits to the South of Scotland."

This project is for manufacturing SMEs in the South of Scotland and will provide access to advanced manufacturing technologies through a group of innovation facilities. The project will focus on supporting SMEs who have potential new products, to help develop them for market, upskilling the workforce, encouraging innovation, and attracting new businesses to the region.

We have produced an exciting video for you to get a better idea of what our AIMS project is all about:

AIMS Project on Linkedin

For more information, please visit:

The AIMS project is a collaborative partnership between Dumfries & Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council, Dumfries & Galloway College and Borders College. 

The AIMS project is funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Challenge Fund and South of Scotland Enterprise.    

The group of innovation facilities are based at Borders College (Hawick Campus), Dumfries & Galloway College (Dumfries Campus) and The Bridge.

Page last updated: 23/02/2022
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