Scottish National Investment Bank – Grand Challenges

The RSE has submitted a response to the Scottish Government regarding the proposed ‘grand challenges’ (missions), in which the Scottish National Investment Bank (the Bank) will invest. This response builds on engagement by the RSE with government on the creation of the Bank for over three years.

The RSE has supported the creation of a mission-oriented development bank since the first consultation in 2017.  However, as the response makes clear, the Bank should begin with one mission rather than the three proposed in the consultation. This will allow the Bank’s Board and staff to gain experience on how best to engage with mission-oriented funding, before gradually adopting the others. Of the three missions outlined, the RSE believe that the climate emergency mission should be the first mission adopted.

If the Bank begins operations with the three missions proposed, then the Board and Strategic Team must consider where to focus investment in specific areas within these missions. If investment is not focused, then there is a risk that resources will be spread to thinly to make a significant and lasting impact. Furthermore, the RSE encourages the Scottish Government and Bank to consider how the Bank contributes to other areas of work in which there are clear connections, such as the digitalisation of the economy and implementation of the recommendations presented in Mark Logan’s report of the technological ecosystem in Scotland.


Download AP20-16

Policy identifier



Mr Ray Perman

Published date

October 2020