Hosted by the Campus developer, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the visit included a tour of Aurora House, the £2.2m purpose-built life sciences building, which attracted £878,762 funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Mr Swinney saw first-hand some of the ground-breaking collaboration, research and development activity being carried out by companies in the building. He met people from CorporateHealth International, 4c Engineering, Aseptium, OrganLike and Aqua Pharma (see Notes).
With 2018 being Scotland’s Year of Young People, he was specifically introduced to some of the firms’ younger recruits.
Mr Swinney also saw progress with a second building, Solasta House, which is currently under development by Robertson Construction in response to a healthy pipeline of enquiries. The £4.5m building, including £1.4m ERDF funding, will focus on accommodation for technology and life sciences companies.
Commenting on the visit, Mr Swinney said:
“The life sciences sector is making a significant contribution to regional development across the Highlands and Islands and the Inverness Campus cluster is a key part of that. This incredibly diverse sector provides excellent career opportunities for young people and will be crucial in attracting new talent to the region.
“It is extremely encouraging to meet some of the talented young people here today, who are embarking on careers in the Highlands, and to see first-hand some of the impressive activities they are involved in.”
Professor Lorne Crerar, chair of HIE, added:
“We have been developing Inverness Campus with a strong ethos of collaboration between commercial, research and education activities and an emphasis on life sciences. Of equal importance to us is that activities here should benefit communities and economies across the region.
“I am delighted that the Deputy First Minister has been able to see some examples of that today, as well as meeting some of the young people attracted to the region by the opportunities presented by the growth in life sciences and technology.”
LTR Pierre Bonnin, Alessio Renno, Maria Teresa Sposato, John Swinney, Jonathan Fairfoull, Reece Moyes, Ilja Magdenko
Inverness Campus, one of Scotland’s most innovative projects, is being developed by HIE. The 215-acre site is designed to provide a range of commercial, research and academic opportunities, with an emphasis on the life science sector. The Campus is already home to seven commercial companies, as well as public organisations such as Inverness College UHI and Scotland’s Rural College. There are around 800 employees based at the site, plus 6,500 students of Inverness College UHI.
The Campus also provides a home for key research and education departments from the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Aseptium is leading the way in the decontamination of complex surgical instruments, a vital aspect of the healthcare sector. The company was set up by design engineer Pawel de Sternberg Stojalowski, who has over 10 years’ experience in developing decontamination devices. Pawel chose to relocate Aseptium from Essex to be part of the growing cluster of life science companies, academics and organisations based in the Highlands and Islands.
OrganLike develops innovative 3-D printing technologies to produce low-cost, hyper-real replica human organs for surgical training and practice. This can reduce risk, improve safety and enhance the success of critical surgery. OrganLike was founded from world leading research from Scottish Universities.
4c Engineering is an engineering and technology development company focusing on creating solutions to the most challenging problems. Along with the award-winning 4c Design, they provide services in mechanical engineering, mechatronics, marine energy technology, prototyping and industrial design.
CorporateHealth International is investing £5.7m in establishing a diagnostics centre in Inverness. The company’s technology is already being piloted in rural locations across the region. Along with and NHS Highland and other partners it has pioneered a camera capsule, which is swallowed by medical patients to investigate the lower gastrointestinal tract. The camera downloads thousands of images that are reviewed and reported on. This investigation can be carried out in the local primary care facility, thereby avoiding the need to travel long distances for diagnosis.
Aqua Pharma supplies the Scottish aquaculture industry with innovative treatments for the control of parasites. Since 2008, the company has been a leading player in fighting sea lice, particularly for salmon. Owned by parent company Aquatiq, Aqua Pharma invests heavily in researching and developing cutting-edge treatments and technology to address parasite issues in the aquaculture industry. The Aquatic Concept Group is headquartered in Norway and has offices around the world including Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the US.