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Innovation centre on track to boost industry

Published: 27/09/2022

A new facility in Inverness is on track to start generating new commercial opportunities from early 2023, including creating high value career opportunities.

Ruaraidh MacNeil, HIE's director of business infrastructure (credit: Gillian Frampton)

A new facility in Inverness is on track to start generating new commercial opportunities from early 2023, including creating high value career opportunities.

The £9m Life Sciences Innovation Centre, being developed on Inverness Campus by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and UHI, is scheduled to open for business at the end of the year.

Designed by Austin-Smith:Lord and built by Robertson Construction Northern, the 2500m² facility will offer space for businesses to work with academia on innovative life science projects.

It will also provide access to high-tech research equipment and lab conditions for collaborative research.

The centre will be used to attract more life science companies into the region and support the sector’s growth across the Highlands and Islands.

The centre forms part of a wider project with the NHS Highland national treatment centre on Inverness Campus, which is also under construction.

The three organisations plan to integrate academic healthcare research, delivery of clinical care to patients, and the creation of new commercial opportunities, products and services in health science and technology.

Between them the developments are forecast to support more than 200 jobs.

Ruaraidh MacNeil, HIE’s director of business infrastructure, said:

“We are very pleased with progress on yet another major development on Inverness Campus. The life sciences innovation centre will support commercial enterprises, including new business start-ups and organisations looking to establish a presence here.

“The partnership approach, and the alignment with the NHS Highland treatment centre, is very much in keeping with the collaborative ethos of Inverness Campus. The benefits will extend across the region and support the continued growth of UHI.

“All of this will help attract and retain new talent for the region.”

Professor Brian Williams, UHI’s Head of the School of Health, Social Care and Life, said:

“We are excited about the continued progress on this collaborative venture. The development will increase our research in fields such as medical nanotechnology and active health and will help us to provide greater support to the region’s life sciences sector. We hope to create a facility of national significance which will bring economic benefits to our region through innovation, commercialisation, company and job creation and the attraction and retention of talent.”

Helen Robertson, the National Treatment Centre - Highland project director, said:

“The NTC-H Leadership team are currently located within An Lochran and love the Campus environment. Planning for the NTC building involves active collaboration with colleagues across the Campus and the team are excited about future opportunities to jointly develop innovative practice.”

The new life sciences innovation centre has benefited from £4.96m of funding awarded by the European Regional Development Fund Scotland Programme 2014-2020. This is made up of ERDF awards of £1.2m to HIE and £3.75m to UHI.

UHI’s life sciences programme, including its element of the life sciences innovation centre, secured £9m from the UK Government through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which is managed by The Highland Council. The Deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and UHI, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

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