Inverness Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre takes next step - Veterinary Practice
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Inverness Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre takes next step

Scotland’s Rural College unveils plans to boost economy and jobs

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has submitted a planning
application for its Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre on the Highlands and
Islands Enterprise (HIE) Inverness Campus.

Utilising technology and expertise in big data, the
centre will create and support the development of new and existing small to
medium-sized businesses to grow jobs and the economy. It will also support
knowledge exchange and continued professional development.

It will contain seven spaces and breakout areas for new
bioscience-focused start-up businesses. It will also feature a necropsy suite
for wildlife and laboratory spaces to support the development of new products
and services, as well as industry-focused research.

The existing team at SRUC will apply their knowledge and
internationally recognised expertise in animal health, infectious disease
control and zoonotic disease research. They will be working closely with
colleagues in teaching, SAC Consulting and SRUC Veterinary Services.

Previously called the Rural Veterinary Hub, the Rural
and Veterinary Innovation Centre will enhance SRUC’s knowledge exchange with
new lecture and workshops spaces, which can also be used for community events
and talks with space to showcase new innovations.

Last month, SRUC announced plans to create Scotland’s
first veterinary school in 150 years. The new development will contribute to
the vet school.

It will also help to grow Inverness’s international
reputation in bioscience. The Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre will
collaborate with regional organisations to examine links with human health such
as NHS Highland and University of the Highlands and Islands. The collaborative
nature of Inverness Campus makes it an ideal location for SRUC to expand its
work with businesses and academia.

The design of the building is being led by
Inverness-based Threesixty Architecture. The build is being project-managed by
Currie and Brown.

The total estimated budget of the project is around £9
million. The European Regional Development Fund Scotland Programme 2014-2020
awarded £4.1 million to part-fund the development of the new centre. SRUC’s funding
for the project is being supported by an additional £4.2 million financial
transactional loan from the Scottish Funding Council, which includes £1 million for
carbon sustainability enhancements.

Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC,
said: “By being based on the Inverness Campus, the Rural and Veterinary
Innovation Centre will be part of one of the most exciting biotech hubs in

“It’s never been clearer that human health and animal
health are part of the same system. By bringing researchers and commercial
innovators together within the same space, we have a wonderful opportunity to
develop new products and technology that will help prevent and deal with a
future pandemic.

“We have also taken the opportunity to create new spaces
for knowledge exchange and continued professional development for local
business. By providing postgraduate education, we will create opportunities for
students to engage with business. This will help foster the next generation of
biotech entrepreneurs within the Highlands and Islands.”

Ruaraidh McNeil, Director of Business Infrastructure,
Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “We have worked closely with SRUC over
several years and it’s great to see their plans to broaden their work on
Inverness Campus reach this stage. The new centre will be important in
supporting the growth of rural enterprises. With its mix of research, learning,
knowledge exchange and business engagement, it will also further strengthen the
collaborative ethos of the Campus, which has been a key theme since the outset
of the development.”

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