University seeks partner to build research district at 70-acre Edinburgh site

Aerial view of the site (Heriot-Watt University)

HERIOT-WATT University is seeking a development partner to help it build a UK research and innovation district at its Riccarton Campus in Edinburgh.

The university has appointed property consultancy JLL to select a strategic development partner to develop future phases of the Heriot-Watt Research Park, which spans 165-acres in the west of the capital.

Representing one of Scotland’s largest science parks, Heriot-Watt Research Park has around 1,000 staff working across 28 organisations – including Logan Energy, Charles River Laboratories, and the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service.

Almost 70 acres are available for future development and the learning institute’s vision is to create a ‘vibrant’ urban research and innovation district that would be one of the largest research and development opportunities in the UK. It added that the it would be a ‘welcoming’ 24/7 location where leaders in innovation and enterprise are able to work with industry partners to break new ground in a sustainable, globally connected innovation district.

Housing both businesses and academia in the campus, the new research and innovation park could create as many as 10,000 new jobs and offer training opportunities for Edinburgh, the Lothians, and Scotland’s central belt, the university added. The development would include ‘high quality’ accommodation and an ecosystem to drive growth for research and innovation across a range of sectors and business types, from start-ups and SMEs to established businesses.

When developed, the location will integrate with the wider range of mixed-use developments currently taking place in the west of Edinburgh, as well as promoting sustainability and health and wellbeing to surrounding communities.

Professor Gillian Murray, deputy principal for enterprise and business at Heriot-Watt University, said, “We are excited about the prospect of finding a new partner who shares our values and can help us realise our Strategy 2025 ambition through the development of our Research Park. We believe we can create an exciting new model to drive economic regeneration that creates the companies and leaders of the future needed to provide opportunity and economic growth to Scotland. We welcome interest from partners who share our vision.”

Cameron Stott, Head of Scotland at JLL, added, “Heriot Watt University is exceptionally well located in west Edinburgh and with the new National Robotarium building, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion headquarters and the Oriam National Performance Centre for Sport all on the campus, it really is an unrivalled offer for the knowledge sector. We already have a healthy list of enquiries from some exciting companies in the knowledge sector who are keen to build closer ties with the university.”