Moray is taking the latest step on its road to becoming the leading digital health hub in Scotland.
Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP will today (Friday, 4 May) break the ground at the start of the construction of a £6.5m, three floor Life Sciences Centre at Moray College in Elgin which will carry the name of the esteemed Scottish inventor, Alexander Graham Bell.
Licence to use the name of inventor, who taught in Elgin, is closely protected and Moray is highly honoured to be allowed to name this facility after the man who created the telephone - arguably the fore-runner of modern digital communications.
Europe's first rural life sciences centre, the project is the latest achievement for 'Digital Moray', a partnership between the HIE, NHS, Moray College, the Scottish Government, academia and industry which aims to lead the way in Scotland, improving health and creating wealth by developing and reaping the benefits of digital health innovations.
Approving the use of Alexander Graham Bell's name, his family said: "Good luck with your project, and please keep us up to date on its progress."
Local MSP, Richard Lochhead said: "I am delighted that construction is now underway of the Alexander Graham Bell Centre, marking an exciting new chapter in Moray's economy. It is fitting that this landmark in Moray's development as a centre of excellence in science and health should bear the name of one of the great forefathers of modern communications."
David Oxley, HIE area manager for Moray, said: "The creation of the Alexander Graham Bell Centre is an exciting step in providing the facilities Moray needs to be at the forefront of delivering innovative health care systems for the future. It will develop ambitious partnership training, business and research opportunities in Moray which will strengthen the area's international reputation in the digital health sector."
Mike Devenney, Principal of Moray College said: "Moray College is delighted to be the new home of the Alexander Graham Bell Centre. The addition of Life Sciences to Moray College's offering is a significant step in the development both of the college and the University of the Highlands and Islands more generally."
Andrew Fowlie of NHS Grampian added: "Today marks a major step forward in our ambition to create what we are calling Digital Moray. Moray is leading the way in using digital technologies to create unique health services improving the lives of our patients and the industry of our medical practitioners."
The funding partners are Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Moray College, NHS Grampian and the European Commission (European Regional Development Fund). Work is expected to be completed by July 2013 and will be delivered by leading construction, infrastructure and design company Morgan Sindall construction which has offices in Inverness.