Life sciences centre supported with £3.75 million grant

The University of the Highlands and Islands is set to receive £3.75 million from the European Regional Development Fund to enhance its facilities at a new building on Inverness Campus. The funding will be used to extend the floor space and purchase equipment for the university’s life sciences innovation centre.

see full size image
Impression of the custom-built facility

The centre will be part of a larger custom-built facility promoting engagement between the health service, the academic sector and commercial partners. The development will also contain an NHS Highland elective care centre and a Highlands and Islands Enterprise life science business incubator.

Construction of the building, which is being supported by UK Government funding, is due to start later this year. It is part of the £315 million Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal, which is funded by the Scottish and UK Governments and regional partners. The University of the Highlands and Islands was awarded £9 million from the UK Government to establish commercialisation, academic and clinical capacity to deliver projects in health, social care and life sciences.  

The latest investment in the university’s life sciences centre will be used to increase its activities in biomedical research, medical nanotechnology, digital health and product development.

Welcoming the support, Professor Clive Mulholland, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “This funding will help to increase our research capacity and allow us to provide greater support to the region’s life sciences sector. The extra equipment and space will help us to develop a facility of national significance and will enable us to enhance our collaboration activities with local businesses. This will provide faster and greater economic benefits to our region through company and job creation, business innovation, increased productivity and the attraction and retention of talent.”

Scottish Government Innovation Minister Ivan McKee said: “I am delighted to announce this £3.75 million grant towards the new life sciences centre on Inverness Campus. This investment is the latest in our current programme of European Structural Funds to improve skills, sustainability and innovation in the Highlands. It demonstrates the vital role these funds play in the region’s economy.
“This new funding strengthens the international reputation of the University of the Highlands and Islands and the importance of the Inverness Campus to Scotland’s thriving life sciences sector. The development is an exemplar of collaborative working and will bring huge economic, health and academic benefits to the region and beyond.”

UK Government Minister Lord Duncan, said: “This funding boost is very welcome and will build upon the UK Government’s £9 million City Region Deal investment in this exciting and innovative facility.  

“Life sciences are a vital sector of Scotland’s economy, which is why the UK Government is investing in it right across Scotland, whether that’s medicines manufacturing innovation in Renfrewshire, bio-therapeutics in Aberdeen, or new facilities in Inverness. We are working to create opportunities, jobs and long-term growth right across Scotland, and so far have committed more than £1.35 billion in City and Growth Deals to help achieve this.

“The UK Government have guaranteed existing EU funding commitments until the end of 2020 and are making good progress on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. We will of course work in partnership with the devolved administrations to ensure this works for the whole of the UK.”