New Life Sciences Innovation Centre opens on Inverness Campus

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opened a new facility which will support the growth of the life sciences sector across Scotland today (Tuesday 18 April).

The £9.5m Life Sciences Innovation Centre on Inverness Campus is the result of a collaboration between Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). The development has been supported with funding from the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and the European Regional Development Fund.

HRH The Princess Royal, UHI’s Chancellor, toured the new centre and unveiled a plaque at a celebratory event. She was joined by over 100 invited guests, including Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, former Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England and now Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Nottingham.

The centre will attract more life science companies to the region and encourage collaboration between academic researchers, industry and the health sector, supporting the development of new products, processes and services to improve healthcare. Designed by Austin-Smith:Lord and built by Robertson Construction, it offers flexible laboratory and office space and provides access to specialist equipment and resources.

The building forms part of a wider project with the NHS National Treatment Centre - Highland on Inverness Campus, which is open to patients this week. The three organisations will 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.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vicki Nairn, UHI Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “It has been a privilege to open our new shared Life Sciences Innovation Centre today. This event marks the beginning of another ambitious venture with HIE and the start of a new era for life sciences across our operating area. In partnership with HIE, we will be working to establish this new centre as a facility of international significance. It will strengthen partnerships with industry and the NHS to develop technologies which will have a positive and possibly life-changing impact on our communities and wider society.

“The new centre will allow us to increase our existing research in fields such as medical nanotechnology and active health and will help us to provide even greater support to the life sciences and health sectors. It represents a significant investment in the future and will generate economic benefits for our communities through innovation, commercialisation, company and job creation and by attracting and retaining talent.”

The Life Sciences Innovation Centre on Inverness Campus

Stuart Black, HIE’s Chief Executive, said: “The Life Sciences Innovation Centre will support commercial enterprises, including new business start-ups and organisations looking to establish a presence in the Highlands and Islands.

“The partnership approach and alignment with the National Treatment Centre - Highland is very much in keeping with the collaborative ethos of Inverness Campus. The benefits will extend across the region and support the continued growth of the life sciences sector. All of this will help to attract and retain talent for the region.

“We are delighted to see the official opening of the building and to welcome our first tenants.”

UK Government Minister Felicity Buchan said: “The expansion of Inverness Campus is a huge boost for the life sciences sector, helping to attract investment to the area and create highly skilled local jobs in research and technology.

“The opening of the new Life Sciences Innovation Centre, supported with £9 million from the UK Government through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, shows what is possible when we come together with the Scottish Government, local authorities and partners to deliver a shared vision for people in Scotland.

“This forms part of significant investment from the UK Government to level up Scotland and grow the Scottish economy. This includes over £1.5 billion for City and Growth Deals in Scotland and millions more in levelling up funding to transform communities in Inverness and across the UK.”

Scottish Government Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “The opening of the new Life Sciences Innovation Centre represents a new and exciting development for this key sector of the Highlands and Islands economy. It is great to see £4.8 million of funding from Highland and Islands Enterprise, which includes £1.2 million from the European Regional Development Fund, supporting such an inspiring project, and I welcome the spirit of collaboration between all partners involved in getting to this stage.

“The centre’s role as a significant driver for future growth in this area is particularly valuable, and the new inward investment and jobs it generates will deliver a significant boost to the local economy and community.

“I look forward to seeing the research, innovation and opportunities that will come from the centre.”

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 awards of £1.21m 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.

For more information on the Life Sciences Innovation Centre, visit