HIE is tightening its procurement procedures for the multi-million pound Inverness Campus project.
HIE placed a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in September, inviting construction firms to register interest in carrying out around £15-20m worth of infrastructure works to open up 89 acres of the site for development.
However, in light of current difficulties affecting the construction sector, HIE has reviewed its procedures and decided the complexity and scale of the Inverness Campus project warrants additional diligence.
The move will add around four months to the procurement process for the Campus project, with site works getting under way in summer 2011.
HIE has also assured potential occupiers of the site that there will be no impact on their timescales as a result of this decision.
HIE Chief Executive Alex Paterson said: "Given the current economic climate and in particular the collapse of Rok plc, we have decided to request additional financial information from the companies tendering for the complex and large-scale Inverness Campus project. Under European legislation this means we have to re-start the procurement process.
"The Campus will have the capacity to support up to 6,000 jobs over the next 30 years, and generate more than £38m for the regional economy every year. HIE alone is investing £25 million into the development of the project over the next few years. It is therefore vital that we do everything we can to ensure we find the right construction partner.
"We appreciate the time and effort that companies have invested in the process so far and hope that those which have expressed interest will retain their interest, and understand that Inverness Campus is a project of significant importance which we are determined to protect from risk."
Inverness Campus will bring together a cluster of research organisations, educational institutions and businesses. Phase one partners include Inverness College, UHI, the Centre for Health Science, the Scottish Agricultural College and a training hotel.
Find out more about Inverness Campus here.