Artist’s rendering of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Renfrewshire, UK

CPI has today announced an agreement with Pfizer, making it the newest partner of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre collaboration. The partnership will enable the Centre to draw upon Pfizer’s expertise within the pharmaceutical sector to help address key challenges and maximise efficiency within the medicines supply chain.

Artist’s rendering of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Renfrewshire, UK

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre is a collaboration between CPI, the University of Strathclyde and founding industry partners GSK and AstraZeneca, with funding provided by Scottish Enterprise and UK Research and Innovation. The Centre aims to advance emergent and disruptive technologies through a series of flagship ‘Grand Challenge’ projects to increase productivity and patient outcomes in the pharmaceutical industry. 

The new partnership with Pfizer will focus on Grand Challenge 1, which aims to develop an innovative continuous direct compression (CDC) platform enabling oral solid dosage medicines to be formulated more robustly and efficiently. The CDC platform will feature a digital twin and data predictor model to allow for the modelling of processes in a digital space. This capability will improve efficiency and significantly cut down the quantity of starting materials needed to optimise formulations with the aim of enabling companies to ultimately develop formulations faster and at reduced cost. 

As a partner in the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre collaboration, Pfizer will be providing data, expert skill and knowledge of continuous mixing technology. Pfizer’s contributions to Grand Challenge 1 will aim to minimise costs and significantly reduce risk by providing vital technical expertise for further development of the digital twin and data predictor model for the CDC platform. 

Dave Tudor, Managing Director at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, said: “We are extremely proud to be working with Pfizer and look forward to drawing on its wealth of expertise in the pharmaceutical industry. This partnership will help to further develop the CDC platform as part of Grand Challenge 1, leading to reduced materials requirements and lower costs for the end-user.”

Brian Henry, Vice President, Drug Product Design, at Pfizer, said: “We are excited to begin our partnership with the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre to support the delivery of Grand Challenge 1. Through the support of Pfizer’s Emerging Science Fund, we believe we can utilise our collective knowledge to build predictive models for continuous tablet manufacturing, with the goal of enhancing our ability to accelerate the drug development process and help deliver breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.”

Derek Provan

Commenting on today’s announcement in the Scottish Parliament from First Minster Nicola Sturgeon on the introduction of tougher quarantine restrictions, Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, said:

Glasgow airport Derek Provan

“This is the third significant announcement regarding travel restrictions in as many weeks which, once again, have been introduced without any consultation whatsoever. We’re also lacking any detail on how the latest layer of restrictions will be implemented.

We understand the need for short-term emergency measures, and we all want to see this virus brought under control as quickly as possible, however, it’s imperative government engages with industry on developing a recovery plan.

“Our airports are effectively closed, they have been for almost one year and without a recovery plan from government there is no end in sight. We need to see sector specific support beyond the rates relief otherwise our entire industry will remain in a perilous position.”


AGS Airports, which owns and manages Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, is to lead a consortium that will develop and trial what will be the UK’s first national distribution network to use drones to transport essential medicines, blood, organs and other medical supplies throughout Scotland.


The AGS led consortium, which brings together 14 organisations including the University of Strathclyde, and leading air traffic control provider NATS, successfully secured £1.5 millionfrom the UK Industrial Strategy Future Flight Challenge Fund to demonstrate how autonomous drone technology can enhance access to essential medical supplies, particularly in rural parts of Scotland.

The CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland) project started on 1 December and will involve live drone flight trials. In addition to developing the ground infrastructure needed to recharge the drones and the systems to control them while flying, a key aspect of the project will be designing pathways to ensure the drones can safely share airspace with civil aviation. The project will also ensure critical aspects such as public safety, security and noise levels are considered.

A digital blueprint of the drone delivery network will then be created with the potential to connect hospitals, pathology laboratories, distribution centres and GP surgeries across Scotland. The project is scheduled to run until Spring 2022.

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, said: “This project has the potential to completely revolutionise the way in which healthcare services are delivered in Scotland. Not only does drone technology have the ability to speedup the delivery of critical medical supplies, it could reduce waiting times for test results and, more importantly, help provide equity of care between urban and remote rural communities.

“The organisations within this consortium are some of the most skilled and experienced in drone technology. The funding from UK Industrial Strategy will allow us to work together to overcome some of the challenges associated with scaling drone operations to deliver atransport network that is technically, socially and financially viable.

Although our focus is on healthcare, the CAELUS project could pave the way for the deployment of drone-enabled logistics in other sectors and has the potential to change the way airspace is used by manned and unmanned vehicles. It also has clear environmental benefits as it will play a key role in reducing the carbon emissions generated by existing, road-based distribution networks within Scotland.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the NHS West of Scotland Innovation Hub, which supports health and social care innovation across the West of Scotland, will work alongside the AGS led consortium on the project

Karen Bell, Head of Research & Development – Innovation Lead for NHS Ayrshire & Arran said: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran are excited to be leading on the delivery of this project on behalf of the West of Scotland Innovation Hub.

This is an opportunity to work with aviation colleagues to explore the innovative use of drone technology to address some of the potential challenges facing daily delivery of NHS services, not only within NHS Ayrshire & Arran but across the West of Scotland.”

The Scottish Government’s Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This innovative project will help position Scotland at the forefront of drone technologies to deliver essential healthcare supplies to people more quickly, especially those living remote locations. It also demonstrates, once again, that when businesses, universities and public sector work together they can deliver for Scotland and outperform the competition, attracting welcome funding at this challenging time.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Strathclyde is a founding member of the UK Aviation Research Consortium and we are delighted to play a central role in this exciting project, applying our expertise from across multiple disciplines. The project aligns with our health technologies research cluster and our long track record of working with industry and the public sector. We look forward to demonstrating the potential value of drone delivery of medical supplies for the public, NHS, the economy, social equality and for the aviation manufacturing industry in Scotland.”

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director, added: “At this very challenging time for the international aviation industry, it is a great testament to the UK’s drive and ambition that we have had such a strong response to the first funded Future Flight competition. The breadth, quality and creativity of the bids has been exceptional and the economic and social benefits offered are very significant. The projects we are now launching will position the UK strongly to drive the third revolution in aviation.”

The CAELUS consortium comprises:

AGS Airports Limited​​​​​NATS (Services) Limited

ANRA Technologies UK Ltd​​​​Schneider Electric (UK) Limited

Atkins Ltd​​​​​​Avy – Drones for Good

The Drone Office Ltd​​​​​Connected Places Catapult

Trax International Ltd ​​​​​DGP Intelsius Limited

uAvionix Ltd​​​​​​Leonardo MW Ltd​​

University of Strathclyde​​​​Dronamics

fionn gavin

A secondary school pupil from Paisley will help influence the future of sporting activity in Scotland.

Fionn Gavin, aged 17 and a sixth-year student at St Andrew’s Academy, has been selected to sit on the sportscotland Young People’s Sports Panel for the next two years.

He will join other young people from all over Scotland to influence the future and raise the profile of sport in the country.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools team had supported four local pupils in their application to sit on the panel with two getting to the final stages of selection.

Fionn’s has been asked to join the panel out of more than 150 young people who applied.

Fionn said: “When I got the phone call saying I had been selected for the panel I was overwhelmed with excitement and couldn’t believe it.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know my fellow peers on the panel and I can’t wait to get started to work as a team to make a difference to sport in Scotland.

“I am very grateful to my Active Schools Coordinators, David Rose and Erin Campbell along with the teachers in my PE Department, at St Andrew’s for helping me to become involved and pushing me to succeed in something I love.”

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “The Young People’s Sport Panel provides a national platform to represent the voice of young people across Scotland.

“The programme’s principle is that young people’s views are heard and valued and they have the opportunity to influence decision-making and drive change.

“Fionn has been involved with the Active Schools programme from a young age and has shown great commitment to sport. He has all the credentials to become a valued member of the panel and we are delighted he has been selected.

“He will also continue to work with groups in Renfrewshire to raise awareness and promote sporting activity.”fionn gavin

John Strange

Director of leading Glasgow-based insurance claims management company advises Scottish property owners how to winter-proof their home and avoid unwanted costs

John Strange, director of Aspray Glasgow West, has given his top tips on how to combat seasonal damage and prevent thousands of unnecessary pounds being spent this winter. Living in Scotland, the effects of winter can have a devastating impact on property owners, and their budget. “Fortunately,” John says, there are precautions you can take to avoid these damage-induced winter woes. 

John Strange

The Met Office has warned Scotland is in for a cold one this winter, and with DIY and hardware shops still deemed as essential, property owners should prepare for any problems that might arrive with the plunging temperatures. According to John one of the most common – and costly – causes of damage to look out for is frozen pipes. Although there are simple and effective steps that can be taken to prevent pipes freezing and bursting, research by WaterSafe revealed only 14% of homeowners in Scotland prepare for this kind of seasonal stumbling block. 

According to John: “The best way to avoid pipes freezing is to keep your heating on. Try not to switch it off during the coldest months. If you can, keep it on and adjust the temperature accordingly – but don’t turn it off or your pipes could freeze.” 

Damaged Property

John, who has worked in property and construction for over 20 years, felt he wanted to use his skills and experience in the industry to help people when they need it most. Working to make successful building insurance claims, Aspray work with vetted contractors and a dedicated management team to help achieve a fair settlement and restore customers’ properties as swiftly as possible. 

Damage fixed

A freezing Scottish winter can be stressful enough for homeowners, and with further restrictions looming, the thought of any kind of damage occurring, whether it be by flood or fire, can be daunting. If the worst does happen however, John and his team can help. 

“We aim to take all the stress and hassle away from homeowners allowing them to try and get on with their lives during a terrible time,” John says.

“Damage to your home or business is not something people want, but when it happens it’s comforting to know that you have the people who care on your side, making sure your property is returned to its pre-incident condition as swiftly as possible.”

Aspray, which was shortlisted three times in this year’s prestigious British Claims Awards, are renowned for their unrivalled customer service and, with no extra costs to the policy holder, is an invaluable source of comfort to homeowners in a harsh winter season.


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CLAIRE Cunningham-Stirrup’s business baby was a stall selling children’s clothes at Braehead shopping centre.

And like all parents she has watched with pride as her Kiddie Boutique offspring has grown over the past ten years to become Scotland’s biggest independent children’s clothing company.


After running the stall for three years, Claire moved into an 1100 square foot shop at Braehead, but now she has moved into a new store in the mall – almost three times the size of her previous shop.

Claire admits she was more than a little emotional when she opened her new Kiddie Boutique store after years of hard work and long hours building the business she started when she couldn’t get the clothes she wanted for her then baby daughter, Rebecca.

Claire explains: “I was on maternity leave from my job as the manager of a travel agents after my daughter, Rebecca was born ten years ago and I couldn’t get the brands of clothing I wanted for her.

“That’s when I realised there was a gap in the market and very few shopping centres had independent kids-wear stores.

“So, after a lot of research into what products were available at the right price, I decided to start selling quality children’s clothing from what is known as a retail merchandising unit only a few metres long.

“I was stunned how popular it was and very quickly we became extremely busy and it has stayed that way ever since. After three years we had become so successful it was time to move to a shop and I leased one of the retail units in the upper mall.

“Seven years on we had yet again outgrown our shop and we needed to move to bigger premises in the mall.

claire cunningham

“We now have lots more space and are able to stock more brands and a bigger collection of children’s clothing. The bigger shop also means customers have more room to browse and enjoy their time in our store.”

Kiddie Boutique has won a host of accolades in the Braehead Retail Awards over the years, including Best Children’s Wear Store three times and Best Customer Services awards.

The store has also had some celebrity customers with singer, Paolo Nutini popping in to buy his nephew a Mitch and Son tracksuit, Coronation Street actress, Helen Flanagan choosing clothes for her daughter, Matilda and X Factor star Nicholas McDonald also buying an outfit as a gift.

Claire continued: “When I first opened, I was working ten-hour days, seven days a week, but now I employ 25 people.

“I definitely thought of it as my business baby and now with us moving to a bigger store, it seems like my baby has grown up and is like a teenager heading into adulthood.

“I was very emotional when we opened the new shop as a phenomenal amount of hard work has gone into the business over the past ten years.”

“To be able to achieve this in the middle of a pandemic really is amazing. I cannot thank Braehead enough for their continued support throughout our first ten years in business.

“To allow a small independent business to grow in such a tough environment dominated by big multiple companies really has been phenomenal. We are delighted to have such a wonderful and successful store at Braehead.

Claire added: “You never know how a business is going to go when you first start out, but when I realised I was on to something and it was working, my ambition was to eventually run the biggest independent children’s wear company in Scotland.

“And that’s what has happened now I’ve moved into this bigger retail unit.

“We’ve been able to build on what we’ve achieved at Braehead and we launched a Kiddie Boutique online business as well, although the physical store we have is still the most successful.

“We are delighted and cannot thank our customers enough for their on-going support. We hope to continue to bring high quality Childrenswear to Braehead for many years to come.”

Social Customer Service

Day 9 – Social Customer Service (NSDesign)

Social Customer Service
Dec 11, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm

A fun, and engaging workshop discussing what ‘great social service’ looks like in today’s connected world. We’ll look at examples from a variety of companies and ask if we really deliver quality customer service, or do we focus on the numbers. Do we look for opportunities to wow customers across our social channels or do we just react to complaints.


Day 8 – Making LinkedIn work for your business (With Gordon White from fatBuzz)

Dec 10, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Join Gordon from fatBuzz looking at what you need to do to optimise your Business Page and how to tap into the power of LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Advertising.

national theatre of scotland

Victorious is a new epic piece of people’s theatre written by Julia Taudevin and created by National Theatre of Scotland and Slung Low with the people of Paisley to be performed there in September 2022.

national theatre of scotland

A musical about a future we might be heading towards, the play takes place over a whole day in various locations around the city.

The show is performed outside throughout the day in a number of key locations.

We are looking for Scottish artists or artists based in Scotland to join the creative team to make this large-scale, explosive, political show with the people of Paisley.

We want to hear from the full breadth and range of the talent theatre in Scotland has. We need a team of brilliant, determined, heroic artists to make something as big and as challenging as this show.

Experience of working with large community companies is useful. Experience of working outdoors is useful. Experience of making epic, political theatre is useful. Or maybe you have not worked on a project like this before but are excited about it and know that you have the skills to make it happen.

You can let us know you are interested in the below positions in whatever form is best; letter, video, voice memo- linking to whatever resources best represents your talents and skills (please don’t send us videos but rather link to the videos somewhere on the internet, the same with portfolios – our inbox will get destroyed otherwise!). You can send them to, making sure you tell us what position or area you are interested in.

If you want to ask questions about the project you can always email the director, Alan Lane via

We are looking for the following positions (although this may change as the project evolves) and may also need assistants or associates to support these areas:

  • Video Artist/Director of Photography
  • Lighting Designer
  • Musical Director (this might include arranging songs, leading the band)
  • Choir Leader (this will involve teaching a large group of people how to sing the songs)
  • Costume Designers
  • Set Designers
  • Associate Directors
  • Fight Choreographer

The National Theatre of Scotland acknowledges the need and right of everyone connected with the organisation to be treated with respect and dignity in an environment in which a diversity of backgrounds and experience is valued.

All successful candidates will be contracted by National Theatre of Scotland on our standard terms and conditions.

Closing date for expressions of interest is 12 noon on 12th January 2021, all submissions will be read by project director Alan Lane. We will let you know whether we are interested in meeting with you to discuss the project further by 26th January 2021.


Day 7 – How to use Analytics to grow your business online (Brian Tait from Aillum)

Dec 9, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join Brian Tait at Aillum for an insight into some of the tools and data available to you now, free, that can help you start monitoring, refining and improving your digital marketing activities! Includes tips on Google Analytics, Keywords / Content, Heat Mapping, Site speed and more!