Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney has been at Inverness Campus to review progress and to announce work is to begin on a £3m building which will provide space for new Life Science business growth.
The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Board approved funding for the Life Science unit when they met last week. With planning already in place, work on the 1000m2 facility could start before the summer and be ready in late Spring 2015.
The Minister welcomed HIE’s investment which will provide much needed accommodation and a stimulus for the Life Sciences Enterprise Area at Inverness Campus. An economic impact assessment carried out for the project calculates around 40 jobs could be created in the building.
The £3.2 million project includes funding of £835,760 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“Inverness Campus is already taking shape as a prime location where key business, research and education organisations can work together in state of the art facilities.
“Work is well underway for the new Inverness College UHI. The planning process has already started for the HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands shared Enterprise and Research Centre.
“The unit approved this week will support the growth of a vibrant Life Sciences sector in the region and build on the North’s global reputation for cutting edge research in life sciences.”
Independent research indicates that Inverness Campus could support up to 6,000 jobs over the next 30 years and generate around £38m for the regional economy each year.
The new unit builds on a strong nucleus for life sciences research and manufacturing already in the area. The site is adjacent to the Centre for Health Science; Raigmore Hospital; Johnson & Johnson's LifeScan Scotland and the inspiring Charles Jencks designed Maggie's Centre, Highland.
HIE Chairman Professor Lorne Crerar, commented: “Rather than presenting a concept to prospective investors the building provides a tangible asset ready to be tailored to their specific needs. The availability of high quality, flexible space is a critical factor in attracting new investment and supporting the growth of existing businesses in the region. This kind of flexibility, combined with the opportunity to co-locate with other companies, academia and enterprise, ensures that Inverness Campus offers a world class option for prospective developers.”
HIE also submitted plans at the end of March for a new Enterprise and Research Centre at Plot 10 on Inverness Campus. This project provides a unique opportunity to co-locate the region’s economic and community development agency with the University of the Highlands and Islands. The joint venture could include shared office accommodation, teaching, research and laboratory facilities and an innovative Science Academy together with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) under one roof.
The agency is currently undertaking an OJEU procurement process to find a contractor to deliver the new multi-purpose facility and hopes to award a contract by August 2014.