Jobs and talent boost as life sciences innovation centre at the University of the Highlands and Islands given green light by planners
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A new life sciences innovation centre will be built in the Highlands after being granted planning permission.
The 2500m² facility at Inverness Campus is a joint project between Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
Designed by multi-disciplinary design firm Austin-Smith:Lord, the centre will form part of a wider project with NHS Highland.
The health authority is developing an elective care facility at the site and, together, these are forecast to create around 190 jobs.
Ruaraidh MacNeil, HIE’s director of business infrastructure, said: “This is a major development for Inverness and for the Highlands and Islands.
“The life sciences innovation centre will generate new commercial opportunities including new business start-ups, attracting new companies to the area, creating high value career opportunities.
“It will also support the continued growth of the University of the Highlands and Islands through new research and other development opportunities.
“The nearby NHS Highland facility, meanwhile, will improve the health outcomes and patient experience across the Highlands and Islands. All of this will help attract and retain new talent for the region.”
Fiona Larg, chief operating officer and secretary at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “We are delighted that planning consent has been granted for 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.”
Procurement of a contractor to build the new centre is expected to get underway in early December.
The University of the Highlands and Islands 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.
The Deal is a joint £315 million initiative supported by both the UK and Scottish governments.
The new facility also benefits from £3.75 million of part-funding by the European Regional Development Fund European Structural Funds Programme 2014-2020.
Scotland Office Minister Iain Stewart said: “This is a major step forward for such an important project.
“Backed by £9 million of UK Government funding, the University of the Highlands and Islands life sciences programme, including the life sciences innovation centre, will put the area right at the heart of this crucial sector.
“It is pleasing to see progress being made on the £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.
“The UK Government has now committed more than £1.5 billion to city-region and growth deals across every part of Scotland.”