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MTB Innovation Centre, Innerleithen

We have been supporting the lead partners, South of Scotland Enterprise and Edinburgh Napier University, to develop the world's first MTB Innovation Centre based in Innerleithen, Scotland.

MTBIC illustration

Introduction

The Mountain Bike Innovation Centre is set to be a collaboration between South of Scotland Enterprise who are project sponsors and Edinburgh Napier University who bring a wealth of expertise in the sector.

We have been integral in developing these plans to deliver the world's first MTB Innovation Centre based in Innerleithen, Scotland. A Mountain Bike Innovation Centre will not only create jobs in Scotland and the Tweed Valley, but stimulate research into sustainable new products and practices for the industry. The centre will aim to operate as net-zero.

It will host bike brands with office spaces and offer a unique range of services from groundbreaking research to testing and prototyping.

The proposal is for a demand-led, self-sustaining innovation centre that helps form the hub within an industry cluster locally, across Scotland and even at a European level. The centre is attracting so much attention because it is based in the heart of one of Scotland's premier existing MTB destinations - the Tweed Valley.

We have led the business case development, along with the project sponsors - Edinburgh Napier University/MTBCOS and South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), and there has been a thorough process to secure the £19m of Borderlands Inclusive Growth deal funding, which demonstrates the needs and demands of universities, academics and both Scottish and global businesses in an industry-led innovation centre.

The innovation centre concept was built by the specialist knowledge held within DMBinS and that learnt from existing cycle industry innovation offerings we visited on learning journeys in Flanders and Portugal.

Like these proven examples, the project will utilise public funds, the MTB Innovation Centre, Innerleithen will utilise the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, to create dedicated revenue-generating innovation facilities open to business, academia and individuals to use.

The proposal is that the Innovation Centre will be accompanied by a Bike Park. Together these developments create an attractive package, which not only facilitates easy bike testing and development but attracts companies to live and work next to outstanding trails and support our rural communities to prosper in a sustainable way.

Project Highlights

  • A Global Leader – Positioning Scotland as one of the world leaders in MTB
  • Sense of Place – Building on success, existing infrastructure and natural assets
  • Growing an Industry Cluster - R&D fostering innovation and commercial support
  • Adventure Bike Park with Trail Lab – Global first to combine tourism with innovation
  • Increased GVA of £141m in the South of Scotland
  • 401 new jobs for the region

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University, on the announcement the project was to be a key part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, said:

“Today marks another important milestone for Edinburgh Napier and its partners in our journey towards making the South of Scotland the mountain bike capital of Europe. The Borderlands Growth Deal will build on the fantastic groundwork of the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, hosted by Edinburgh Napier University who have been supporting cycling innovation since 2012."

“This investment will take the work of the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland to the next level, helping to drive innovation and support product research and development, whilst working with local and international companies. “Together, these projects will power commercial activity, attract inward investment and deliver positive outcomes in terms of public health and supporting carbon neutral products and processes. “We are also hugely excited by the potential research opportunities for Edinburgh Napier colleagues across a range of academic disciplines, including exercise science, health and wellbeing, engineering, inclusion, product design, artificial intelligence, big data and tourism.”

Impact of MTB Innovation Centre

The project, both the innovation centre and the bike park, have been analysed by respected consultants 4Consulting who have assessed the sustainable impact on the South of Scotland economy to be as follows:

  • Increased GVA of £141m in the South of Scotland and £511m across the UK*
  • Net jobs impact of 401 in the South of Scotland and 1,415 across the UK*
  • 45 Businesses relocating all or part of their operations to the south of Scotland
  • Eight teaching programmes and six Masters/PhD research projects hosted at the centre
  • By 2027, 160,000 visits per year to Scotland’s first bike park and 40,000 additional bed nights (Select Contracts, 2018)

Ed Shoote ex-DMBinS, now SOSE , said

“The innovation centre and adventure bike park will help grow the area’s profile and encourage sustainable business growth and development. The adventure bike park will deliver much-needed investment in infrastructure to manage the growing number of visitors to the area, while protecting and adding to the already fantastic trail network and attractions to ensure visitors spend more time in the area.”

“There is still a lot of work to do to realise this vision and we will continue to work with the project partners and the local community to deliver the best project for the region.”


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