Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC)

ORIC background 

The Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC) is a joint venture by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Orkney Islands Council (OIC). The 3.75-acre campus will support the growth of existing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies in Orkney’s world-leading marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector. It will also attract additional research activities to Orkney, both from the commercial and academic worlds.

A £5.39 million construction contract has been awarded to Kirkwall based R Clouston Limited for the development of the new Research and Innovation Campus. Work will include refurbishing, updating and extending the Old Academy and former Stromness primary school buildings as well as improving roads, paths and landscaping.

HIE is investing £4.65 million in the campus project, including £1.48 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money. Orkney Islands Council is investing £2 million including £0.5 million of Scottish Government Regeneration Funding, in addition to transferring ownership of the Old Academy and former Stromness primary school to the partnership.

The Old Academy is already home to the European Marine Energy Centre, Heriot Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology, environmental consultants Aquatera and a number of other businesses.

The aim is to attract more academic institutions and businesses with an interest in carrying out research projects in an island setting. This could include research linked to Orkney’s energy resources, transport needs, culture and economy.

This significant investment will support the growth of existing businesses and the creation of new ones. Crucially, it will provide more opportunities to attract and retain young people looking to live, work and study in Orkney.

Work on the project began in March 2018. 

ORIC vision 

The vision for this project is to create a physical campus within the unique and historic townscape of Stromness, with collaborative research and innovation at its heart. The proposed development will see the existing complex of buildings transformed into a high-quality business/learning campus, fit for the 21st century.    

ORIC will build on, but will not be limited to, Orkney’s existing marine/renewable energy research cluster; which is largely centred on the existing Old Academy, and has the world leading test capability of EMEC and the extensive teaching and research expertise of HWU-ICIT at its core. The campus will create the conditions to increase activity, to fledge new start companies, and to bring new employment opportunities into the area, from both academia and business.

For more information, please contact our Orkney office on +44 (0) 1408 634 063.