REMOTE work has allowed two key projects on the Highland and Island’s Enterprise’s (HIE) Inverness Campus to progress during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Work is continuing on the life sciences innovation centre on plot 15 of the campus and on a ‘modular village’ for small business units on plot 14.
The life sciences innovation centre is a joint project between HIE and the University of the Highlands and Islands. It will operate in partnership with NHS Highland and the proposed Elective Care Centre, also planned for the campus. The build is being funded by a £9 million grant secured through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which is an initiative supported by both the UK and Scottish Governments.
HIE said that the modular village will consist of a plot of small buildings that can be developed quickly and fabricated off-site. They will be aimed at commercial organisations, such as those in the life science and technology sectors.
Austin-Smith:Lord was appointed to take the life sciences innovation centre project through the design and consenting stages, while Will Rudd Davidson was appointed to design the infrastructure roads, utilities and landscaping for the modular village site. Both contracts were awarded prior to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Ruaraidh MacNeill, HIE’s Inverness Campus project director, said, “We are very pleased to be able to progress these projects safely in light of the current restrictions around Covid-19. The life sciences innovation centre will create new technology-based commercial opportunities and high value careers. It will also support the continued growth of the University of the Highlands and Islands through new education and research opportunities.
“The modular village will see options for new and flexible types of commercial buildings on the site, that are in keeping with the quality building and environmental standards of Inverness Campus. When complete, it will offer flexibility to the growing organisations who are benefiting from the advantages of Inverness Campus as a business location.”
Scotland’s transport secretary Michael Matheson added, “Scotland is recognised as a world leader for our work in the life sciences and innovation sector, so it’s hugely encouraging to see this project take a significant step forward. This is also yet another example of a business in Scotland adapting how they do things to support long-term productivity and economic growth – despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Scottish Government has committed up to £135 million to the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. This, combined with the package of support we have announced for businesses across the country, will help Scotland’s communities survive this crisis and thrive in future.”
UK Government minister Douglas Ross said, “It’s really welcome news that progress is being made on the life sciences innovation centre at the University of the Highlands and Islands during these unprecedented times. The £315 million city region deal initiative continues to create high value jobs and attract further investment and new businesses to the area. Research and innovation is the jewel in the crown of our world-leading higher education sector and we are working closely with universities and other partners to provide stability during these difficult times, including the creation of cross-UK Ministerial Taskforce on research sustainability.”