The digital dairy scheme will be principally based at the Barony campus near Dumfries and will help create new products and ways of working and nurture young entrepreneurs.
The aim is to deliver advanced manufacturing processes to create a fully integrated and traceable supply chain, as well as help businesses locally to explore new markets and tackle carbon levels.
The Digital Dairy Value Chain will be led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and provide world-class opportunities for research and business innovation in advanced, sustainable, high-value dairy processing.
It is expected it could generate an additional £60m a year for the two regions, which collectively produce nearly two billion litres of milk a year.
Working with partners including the University of Strathclyde, University of the West of Scotland, CENSIS, First Milk, Lactalis UK & Ireland, Kendal Nutricare, Cows & Co Group, National Milk Records and SmartSTEMS, the project will provide a platform for research and business innovation in advanced, sustainable, high-value production and processing.
Professor Wayne Powell, principal and chief executive of SRUC, said: “This funding is wonderful news for the dairy industry in Cumbria and South-West Scotland, as well as for the renewal and decarbonisation of the industry as a whole. It will provide a world-class platform for business innovation in advanced, sustainable, high-value dairy production and processing.”
South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) chairman Professor Russel Griggs OBE added: “Dumfries and Galloway is often referred to as the heartland for dairy farming in Scotland, accounting for almost half of the country’s dairy herd. The investment through this initiative and 600 new jobs it aims to create are potentially game-changing for the industry.”
The investment comes from the UKRI Strength in Places fund and is part of the UK government’s Innovation Strategy.
UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The fantastic work the Digital Dairy Value chain is doing shows that science and innovation is not just for Silicon Valley start-ups, but for dairy farmers too. By using the latest technology for sensing and data handling, the industry will create jobs and opportunity across South-West Scotland and Cumbria.”