THOUSANDS of jobs are expected to be created when Edinburgh University joins forces with private companies to build a £40 million computer research centre.
A study predicts that the planned centre which was announced at a dinner attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, the university’s chancellor, at Holyrood Palace last night, will lead within 15 years to the creation of 550 jobs and an annual income of 41.7 million.
The university also believes that the centre, which it describes as a "power house", will eventually generate more than 180 start-up companies across Britain. These should create more than 7,000 jobs and a turnover of around 580 million.
Scottish Enterprise is closely involved in the scheme, which is a blue print for ministerial ambitions to underpin the Scottish economy with companies created from advanced research in universities.
Outside the United States, Edinburgh University is widely considered the leading authority on the new science of informatics, which includes computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. The centre, to be built on a gap site on Crichton Street currently used as a car park, will also have under its roof "incubator" space for start-up companies and a department of E-science - which is revolutionising the way scientists work with data.
Professor Timothy O’Shea, principal of the university yesterday described the announcement as "very important for Scotland and for the UK too".