A £6.5 million project to create a centre for excellence for digital health, research and education in Elgin has been given the go-ahead by Moray planners.
The Moray Life Sciences Centre will be built on the Moray College UHI campus will provide top class facilities to support and expand ground breaking work already being carried out by healthcare experts in Moray.
The project is being delivered and funded by a partnership of Moray College UHI, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), NHS Grampian and the European Regional Development Fund.
Following the appointment of a contractor, building work could now begin as soon as June or July. It will take approximately a year to build and it is hoped will open in the Autumn of 2013.
Mike Devenney, Principal of Moray College commented: "We are delighted to have reached this milestone in a project which is an important part of supporting a dynamic health and education service in Moray. It plays a significant part in our ambition to create a unique, fit-for-purpose College which is flexible and adapts to the changing needs of education in the 21st Century."
The creation of the Moray Life Sciences Centre is also another successful step in delivering the Moray Economic Strategy, which aims to diversify the economy and create exciting opportunities to retain and attract talent to the area.
David Oxley, HIE area manager for Moray, said: "The Moray Life Sciences Centre will provide the perfect facilities to stimulate growth of the sector, by developing a skilled workforce and a climate of innovation in digital health services. It will support researchers, including those experts from Dr Gray's Hospital who are showing how IT can revolutionise health services in remote areas. It will complement existing business activity, like that of blood monitoring device developers AccuNostics who are currently recruiting for their new base at Forres Enterprise Park."
The three floors of Moray Life Sciences Centre will create a clinical skills training unit, high quality meeting facilities, state of the art learning and teaching rooms and space for digital health research and commercialisation activities.
Andrew Fowlie, general manager of Moray Community Health & Social Care Partnership, said: "By working together we have been able to create an ambitious project which will bring medical, academic and economic benefits. The facility allows us to provide training and development for healthcare staff, as well as research facilities which will further Moray's reputation in leading innovation for rural and remote delivery of health services."
The Moray Life Sciences Centre has the potential to deliver many benefits, including:
Funding for the Moray life Sciences Centre is as follows: