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Digital dairy project wins funding

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Digital dairy project wins funding

AN ambitious digital dairy project based at Dumfries is set to bring investment and jobs to the area.

The Strength in Places project based at the SRUC faculty has been awarded £50,000 in seed-corn funding by UK Research and Innovation.

The project team will now produce a detailed application aimed at establishing South-West Scotland and Cumbria as the leading region for advanced, sustainable and high-value dairy processing.

It is hoped it will help drive local economic growth, provide skills training and create high-value jobs in the area.

The Digital Dairy Value-Chain will involve a consortium of research partners, regional and multi-national dairy-processing companies and seven enabling technology companies.

They want to 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 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 the SRUC; University of Strathclyde; University of the West of Scotland; Dumfries and Galloway Council; dairy-processing companies Arla, First Milk, Lactalis Mclelland, Dale Farm; Newton Rigg College and technology companies Afimilk, CENSIS, Lely, Novosound, Seric, BT, Boston Networks.

If the early stages of development are successful, the project will be able to apply for a further investment of £10-50 million early next year.

UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma added: “I am delighted we are helping to kick start plans for three pioneering research projects across Edinburgh, Glasgow and South West Scotland which will build on local strengths, helping to create jobs, while developing new skillsets and increased productivity across the country.”

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