David Howarth 25 Reduced

First tenant for new Life Sciences Innovation Centre

Published: 15/03/2023

The new Life Sciences Innovation Centre on Inverness Campus has welcomed its first commercial tenant.

David Howarth

Medical device consultancy, iDE8, has leased two laboratories and an office in the facility from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The company was formed in 2017 and currently employs seven people. They work with a range of medical device clients globally to design, develop, validate and sustain medical device products.  

The Life Sciences Innovation Centre is a joint £9.5m project by HIE and UHI to support the growth in the region’s life science sector and attract new companies.

It offers space for businesses to work with academia on innovative new projects and provides access to high-tech research equipment and lab conditions for collaborative research. The formal opening of the building will take place in April.

David Howarth, managing director of iDE8, has a personal connection with the facility. His father, Dr Jeff Howarth of UHI who passed away in 2022, was a key member of the joint team who developed the concept for the centre and oversaw its construction.

David said: “We're thrilled to have secured these cutting-edge laboratories and office space from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. This expansion allows us to continue delivering exceptional services to our global clients, while also providing an opportunity for future collaboration with UHI and local businesses to drive medical device innovation in the Highland life science community.”

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

“We’re delighted to welcome David and his team into the Life Sciences Innovation Centre. The work they do is highly compatible with the collaborative culture that the facility has been designed to encourage.”

Business Minister Ivan McKee, who also chairs the Inverness Campus Forum, said:

“It is great to hear that iDE8 are moving to the Life Sciences Innovation Centre on Inverness Campus, funded through Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands. iDE8 will benefit from the state of the art facilities as well as the collaboration created by the co-location of businesses, research and academia across the wider Campus.

“The life sciences sector in Scotland continues to grow and the centre will enable businesses to maximise their potential and play their part in supporting economic growth and delivering on the aims of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

The Life Science Innovation Centre was designed by Austin-Smith:Lord and built by Robertson Construction Northern. The building forms part of a wider project with the NHS National Treatment Centre – Highland on Inverness Campus, which is also nearing completion.

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.

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.

Related Articles