Funded by a loan from Scottish Funding Council, the sale will consolidate and help further develop the university’s School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.
Carroll Buxton, interim chief executive at HIE, said:
“We developed the Centre for Health Science in 2008 to support the growth of the life sciences sector and attract like-minded organisations under one roof to encourage research and commercial collaboration. The success of the centre has shown the regional benefits generated by partnership working across agencies including NHS Highland, University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of Stirling. The sale of the building will safeguard the ability to deliver the NHS nursing undergraduate degree course and the centre will continue to be open to the public.
“The facility has a key role in fostering and facilitating collaboration between different organisations associated with the sector which is crucial to our aspiration to see many more life sciences jobs in the years to come. We are developing the nearby Inverness Campus to further grow the academic and commercial life sciences activity. Part of the 215-acre site is designated as an enterprise area for life sciences, which offers incentives such as rates relief to attract companies to the region.”
Professor Crichton Lang, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor, explained:
“The University of the Highlands and Islands has been carrying out world-leading research in Centre for Health Science for many years. This includes research in diabetes and cardiovascular science, proteomics, lipidomics and genetics and immunology, as well as working to advance knowledge of health and health services in rural areas.
“The building is also the home for our undergraduate degree in oral health science, our contribution to the Scottish graduate entry medical programme and, for the last two years, our department of nursing and midwifery. It is this latest development in nursing that has prompted the move to purchase the building to help fulfil our growing aspirations in the health, social care and life sciences areas.”
The purchase will also give the university space to build on existing and future relationships with the NHS and other partners with interests in this important field.
Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:
“Purchasing the Centre for Health Science will create a fantastic new asset for the University of the Highlands and Islands. It is also an important investment in locally-based training for healthcare professionals in the region. I’m delighted that the Scottish Funding Council has been able to make this happen through the Financial Transactions programme.”