Paisley and Renfrewshire Newsletter

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.”

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Our upcoming Ferguslie Learning Centre programme is now available and we have courses starting soon in:

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The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced that she hopes to lift the current Stay at Home order on 5th April with a return to the tiered levels system and a phased but significant re-opening of the economy from Monday 26th April. She stressed that a cautious easing of the restrictions was required to suppress COVID-19 and that she will bring these dates forward if the data shows that any restrictions can be lifted earlier.


A more formal route map out of lockdown with clearer, indicative dates will be published by the Scottish Government by the middle of March. The main announcements from today are: The remainder of primary school children and more senior pupils will return to school from 15th March along with outdoor mixing of four people from two households and the restarting of outdoor non-contact group sports for young people aged between 12 and 17 years old.

From 5th April, it’s hoped the Stay at Home order will be lifted alongside an expansion of what can be classed as essential retail and a relaxation of some rules around Click and Collect services. The commencement of communal worship may also begin on this date, or slightly earlier, with restricted numbers and it’s also hoped that outdoor gatherings will be increased to six people from two households. More children should be able to return to school after the school Easter Holidays if progress in the fight against COVID-19 continues. Monday 26th April will see a return to the tiered levels system with the majority of areas moving into Level 3 initially – details of what restrictions will be required for each level will be reviewed and this will also be published as part of the formal route map out of lockdown in mid-March.

The First Minister also highlighted that following the Chancellor’s UK budget next week, she would hope to set out more business support for businesses as restrictions are eased. In her speech today, Miss Sturgeon said this would include extending the current Strategic Framework Business Fund (Temporary Closure Grants and Restrictions Grants) until at least the end of June. She stated that when local authority areas move out of level 4, businesses that are allowed to reopen will continue to receive payments from the fund for at least the next four weeks, as they transition back to trading more normally.

Paisley First

She added that the Scottish Government was also considering some form of tapered support for businesses that may still face trading restrictions and reduced demand, even as they are allowed to re-open and more details on this will be set out soon. You can read today’s announcement in full HERE or download the revised Strategic Framework HERE Also today, the new VAT deferral monthly payment scheme – for those who deferred a VAT payment due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, is now live. You can see more on the options available to those who deferred VAT payments last year due to COVID-19 HERE on our website.

Glasgow Airport

Responding to today’s announcement by the First Minister, Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, said: “Yesterday the Prime Minister provided a clear framework for the safe restart of international aviation. Today the First Minister provided a clear message the aviation industry is not a priority for the Scottish Government. We received no plan or framework against which we can start plotting any form of recovery.

Glasgow Airport

“This sends a very worrying signal to our airports, our airlines and the thousands of staff our sector supports. We find ourselves in a position where airports and airlines in England can start planning to safely reopen in time for the summer, yet in Scotland we are left with more questions than answers. It is now two weeks since the Scottish Government committed to setting up an aviation working group and it has still to meet. This lack of meaningful engagement cannot continue.”

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Residents of Gallowhill in Paisley are being urged to find out if they have Covid19 when a mobile test centre for people without symptoms of the virus arrives in the area later this week.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

The mobile units will be in the area from Thursday 25 February for a week and aim to slow the spread of the virus in the area – which has seen high rates of Covid19 transmission recently.

The test site will be split across two nearby sites – a drive-through site in the car park of the Gallowhill Court high flats and a walk-through site in the car park of the Martyr’s Sandyford Church.

They will be open to any resident of Gallowhill to find out if they have the virus. They are only for those who are asymptomatic – anyone with symptoms should go to an NHS-run centre.

The Gallowhill testing unit follows a successful pilot last year which saw more than 5,000 residents of Johnstone turn out over a week to find out if they were carrying the virus.

It will use PCR tests – which are the most accurate Covid test and require to be sent away to a lab, with results arriving via text message or email.

Any Gallowhill resident who wishes to be tested is being asked to book an appointment online. Testing will be run by the Scottish Ambulance Service and will be open each day from 9,.30am to 6pm.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Renfrewshire Council’s deputy leader and local ward member, said: “Gallowhill has had stubbornly-high rates of Covid19 in recent weeks and we want to bring that down and slow the spread of the virus.

“It is a tight-knit community and I would appeal to residents to get a test and help protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighbours.

“We know people can have and spread the virus without knowing they have it – so this is a chance for Gallowhill residents to find out if they are among them.”

Anyone who tests positive will be required to self-isolate – along with the rest of their household – for ten days.

Financial support is available – you may be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant and can apply for this through the council.

More information and instructions on how to book a test is at

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LIBRARY members can now have books delivered to their homes for free.

Keen reader, Elizabeth MacPhee, from Renfrew is delighted with her home delivery of books.

Renfrewshire Libraries launched the new service to make it easier for people to access the thousands of titles they have available.

And as Renfrewshire Leisure’s Digital and Library Development Manager, Joyce Higgins says: “While people can’t come to our libraries, we’ll bring the books in our libraries to them!”

The Libraries Direct home delivery service is available to existing and new members of Renfrewshire Libraries who are over the age of 70, people with disabilities and families with children.

Library staff will also visit homes to collect returned books in a socially distanced and Covid-secure way.

People who are eligible for the service should call 0300 300 1188 to register for the Libraries Direct service. They can then request specific titles by calling the same number or logging on to

Staff will also suggest and recommend particular books depending on the readers’ interests and preferences. Members will receive a phone call a few days before their books are delivered.

One library member who had benefited from the Libraries Direct is Mrs Elizabeth MacPhee, aged 79, from Renfrew, who has already had a delivery of books to her home.

She said: “I think the home delivery service for library books is a fantastic idea and I’m sure everyone will appreciate it.

“I read six or seven books a week and during lockdown I’ve not been able to get to my local library like I normally do a couple of times a week.

“I’ve had to rely on friends giving me books after they’d finished with them. This delivery service is great for me.”

Joyce Higgins added: “We know just how much pleasure books can bring, especially in these difficult times.

“Reading a book can help you relax or stimulate your mind. And if your children are home schooling, we can deliver all kinds of wonderful books to help keep young people engaged and enjoying learning.

“The home delivery service is one way of making sure people don’t need to miss the joy of reading.”

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Construction of the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project will help to create jobs now, generate vital work for local suppliers and accelerate Renfrewshire’s recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19.

That’s according to a new report being considered next week by Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board which sets out the Final Business Case behind the UK and Scottish Government funded Glasgow City Region City Deal project.

New economic analysis reveals 700 new and existing jobs will be needed to complete construction of the project which is ready to start by Spring and expected to take three years to complete.

Planning consent is in place for the project to transform the Clyde waterfront, which includes a two-lane opening road bridge over the River Clyde from Renfrew to the boundary between Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire.

There’s also a new road through Renfrew connecting the bridge to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) and enhanced walking and cycling connections spanning from Renfrew to Yoker train station.

The construction of the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project will help to create jobs now, generate vital work for local suppliers and accelerate Renfrewshire’s recovery from the economic impact of Covid-19.

That’s according to a new report being considered next week by Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board which sets out the Final Business Case behind the UK and Scottish Government funded Glasgow City Region City Deal project.

New economic analysis reveals 700 new and existing jobs will be needed to complete construction of the project which is ready to start by Spring and expected to take three years to complete.

The construction contract is currently being finalised and will see all subcontract and supplier work over £10,000 publically advertised, with supply chain events to encourage bids from local companies.

Community benefits from the main contract will see jobs, apprenticeship and graduate roles, work experience placements, school and college visits and career events provided as well as volunteering and funding for community projects.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The impact of Coronavirus on the local economy is being keenly felt by our many brilliant businesses and many people have faced redundancy and unemployment, so it is hugely significant that the Clyde Waterfront project presents an opportunity we can seize upon now of much-needed jobs and opportunities for work and skills.

“To have the project finalised and the contract ready to award is a major boost to our local economy and will help sustain and protect people’s jobs, a lifeline to suppliers and the construction sector. Completing construction will in turn open up access to development sites along the River Clyde, bringing more jobs, opportunities and affordable homes on our doorstep, connecting communities to jobs, hospitals and education centres and create an attractive area along the waterfront.”

The final business case found a further 1,400 permanent jobs and 950 temporary construction roles could follow from the £230million in private sector investment attracted to both sides of the Clyde through improved access to development sites.

Creation of a new road through Renfrew will reduce the volume of town centre traffic and create a more pleasant environment, while there will be improved access to the Clyde footpath and measures to safeguard the local habitat at Blythswood.

And the report highlights the critical importance of the improved infrastructure in attracting more companies to choose AMIDS, the 52-hectare campus for advanced manufacturing being developed by the Council in collaboration with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Completion of the underpinning infrastructure, also funded through the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal, is scheduled for Summer, while construction is also well underway on its first tenants, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

Councillor Nicolson added: “The strategic significance of Clyde waterfront cannot be underestimated in accelerating our economic recovery and in ensuring the success of AMIDS. We are proud to be developing Scotland’s home for advanced manufacturing in Renfrewshire and £185million in infrastructure, research, innovation and skills facilities have already chosen to base themselves here, bringing with them new jobs and skills development opportunities.

“The enhanced connectivity of the Clyde waterfront infrastructure will be vitally important in attracting more major employers, by opening up access to suppliers and a skilled workforce across the City Region.”

The project potential has been hailed by Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel, the group of major employers, small businesses and local skills, education and enterprise agencies supporting regional economic growth.

In December 2020, the panel produced an Economic Recovery Plan for Renfrewshire, setting out priority actions for a jobs-led recovery, maximising the potential of capital investment and enabling Renfrewshire to secure its position as the primary location for manufacturing research and development investment in Scotland.

James Lang, Chair of the Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel and Director of the UK’s largest leather manufacturer Scottish Leather Group, said: “Renfrewshire’s economy is built on strong foundations and planned investment in infrastructure will be critical to our recovery and growth following the tremendous impact of the pandemic.

“Delivering the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project is vital, in the short-term creating construction jobs and work for local people and longer-term providing a massive boost from the regenerated waterfront and developments that follow. It will also be central to the success of the manufacturing district and I know very well how important access to suppliers and employees is to manufacturing growth.”

Liz Connolly, Principal and Chief Executive of West College Scotland and President of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce said: “The Clyde Waterfront Project is a really significant development for the Renfrewshire economy and the wider Glasgow City Region. Initially the construction phase will present real skills development and employment opportunities for local people, ultimately the improved access and connectivity created by the project will lead to significant job opportunities within the region. The project will also give our SMEs an important route to join the supply chain and bid for contract opportunities.”

Renfrew High School Headteacher Billy Burke said: “For our pupils to have these job and skills development opportunities on their doorstep is very exciting. Apprenticeships offer a fantastic route to employment for young people and knowing our town is home to world-leading experts in manufacturing and engineering will be of great inspiration our learners.”