Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved the funding for two new stages in its development of the European Marine Science Park (EMSP) at Dunstaffnage, near Oban.
Almost £2 million will be invested in fitting out the ground floor of the park’s Malin House to meet demand from growing marine businesses for laboratory and office space.
HIE has approved a further £2.77m investment in groundworks, road development and car parking provision for the next three buildings planned for the site, one of which has already received planning consent.
Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “The Highlands and Islands has an outstanding marine environment with almost two thirds of the UK’s coastline and coastal waters. This natural advantage has created a fitting home for world class marine science, innovation and enterprise.
“It’s important that the region benefits from emerging opportunities from the marine economy, which will help increase productivity and provide valuable rural employment. The European Marine Science Park is right at the heart of that.
“These further investments at the park will support the sustainable growth of our marine industry and contribute to economic recovery. They will create opportunities in skills development and entrepreneurship, particularly for young people, and enhance confidence in Argyll as a business location for inward investors.”
Malin House was completed in 2012, with initially just the first floor fitted out as office space. This has been fully occupied for some time now and is home to ten marine sector companies.
Norwegian fish health firm PatoGen is expanding into the UK market from its existing base at Malin House.
Key account manager Teresa Garzon said: “We are establishing a laboratory for our preventive and diagnostic services in Oban. PatoGen have been working in Scotland since 2014 and established our office at the EMSP campus in Oban in August 2018.
“Since PatoGen entered the Scottish market we have collaborated well with the [fish] farming companies with steady increase in activity. The laboratory in Oban is planned to be operational during summer 2021.”