Edinburgh’s dedicated campus for health and life sciences, situated three miles south of the city centre, is one of the capital’s success stories and the area has major plans for expansion in the coming years.
Four major public sector organisations have now come together behind a plan to develop the Edinburgh BioQuarter.
The five-year collaboration agreement sees the City of Edinburgh Council joining NHS Lothian, Scottish Enterprise and Edinburgh University as official partners at the health and science campus.
The four organisations have appointed a programme team, led by director Hans Möller, to develop and implement a business plan this year.
Möller says: “The idea of the science park is a mix of public sector, the university and commercial partners but all focused on and related to life sciences, to create an innovative ecosystem with ideas flowing between the different entities.
“It attracts new companies and makes the place interesting for investors, tenants and property developers.
“In terms of competition with other locations in the UK, there is the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London, but if you look at the research coming out of Edinburgh University it is world class, particularly in regenerative medicine and the development of new drugs which will revolutionise healthcare in the future.
“We have a fantastic opportunity in this site because there is space to expand, where other locations can find it difficult to grow physically, so that makes us a unique offering in the UK.”
Hugh Edmiston, chair of the Edinburgh BioQuarter strategy board, says: “This signifies a commitment and determination on behalf of all four partners to the future development of Edinburgh BioQuarter campus.
“The capabilities and expertise across Edinburgh BioQuarter is unrivalled.
“Ultimately, by working together, we can improve patient care and positively contribute to the economy at a local and national level.”
The joint vision will see an integrated campus-wide approach which involves building better collaborative links between academics, scientists, clinicians, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs.
It also includes a cross-partnership focus on improving travel, transport and amenities for people visiting the site.
Möller says: “This is an exciting time with over £200 million of construction projects currently taking place and more to come.
“There are plans to build a new facility for the Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences, a medical teaching school building for Edinburgh University and the potential for NHS Lothian’s Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion to relocate here.
“We want to develop more opportunities for the 7,000 people who work across Edinburgh BioQuarter campus.”
Möller predicts that the expansion will see double the number of workers at the site within a decade.
Once fully developed, the BioQuarter will offer up to 130,063sq m of specialist accommodation for academic, commercial and healthcare activity. Currently demand for space is outstripping supply.
Möller says: “One way of ensuring that innovation and commercial opportunities are realised is by improving experiences and by making it easier for people to meet, collaborate and share ideas.”
Proposals will see a hotel with conference facilities, gym, cafes, multi-storey car parking and more office and laboratory space for small and medium-sized businesses.