The first business sector occupier has been confirmed for Inverness Campus, bringing or creating new jobs at the 215-acre site.
Start-up company, Scottish Vet Referrals, is developing a plot on the campus for the north of Scotland’s first purpose-built veterinary referral practice.
Headed by Inverness-based veterinary ophthalmologists Kirsten MacLeod and Tony Wall, this will be a second opinion practice working in partnership with established primary veterinary care practices. The development will create four jobs initially, increasing to around 15 over the next ten years.
The company’s presence at Inverness Campus will be complemented by SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, which is to base 35 research and consultancy staff at the campus. This will be located within An Lòchran, the same building as Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and research staff from the University of the Highlands and Islands.
There is also considerable interest from the business community in the new Life Sciences Unit on the campus. This purpose built development is made up of spaces that can be leased independently or combined into larger spaces and can be fitted out to accommodate laboratories, office accommodation and meeting areas.
Inverness Campus is one of Scotland’s most innovative infrastructure projects. Its development is being led by HIE to support the further expansion of some of the region’s key sectors with a particular focus on life sciences. The site has been specifically designed to encourage collaboration between business, research and academia, both within the campus and with neighbouring organisations such as LifeScan Scotland, Raigmore Hospital and the Centre for Health Science.
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and chair of the Inverness Campus Partnership Forum, opened the campus in May 2015. Mr Swinney said:
“Inverness Campus is a landmark project, not just for Inverness and the Highlands and Islands, but for the whole of Scotland. I very much welcome the decisions by Scottish Vet Referrals and SRUC to locate at the campus. I have no doubt they will be among many companies to benefit from the excellent location and world-class facilities.
“Life sciences is recognised in Scotland’s Economic Strategy as one of the sectors which can contribute the most to our national growth and prosperity. The success of businesses and research teams based in Inverness and other parts of the Highlands and Islands shows how this region is already playing a vital role in enabling Scotland to be an international player in life sciences, generating skilled jobs and high quality educational opportunities.
“In the years ahead, as Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) promotes Inverness Campus worldwide, and begins to attract further business investors to this unique location, I expect the campus to play an even more crucial role in developing the region’s already significant life sciences cluster.”
Ruaraidh MacNeil, HIE’s project director for Inverness Campus, said attracting these groups to the campus demonstrates the quality of the space on offer.
He added: “This marks the start of the expansion of the business side of Inverness Campus. Here Scottish Vet Referrals will be among the first to have state-of-the-art facilities in a beautiful environment. They will be able to grow their commercial activities and collaborate with other like-minded organisations in business, academia and research. With the current level of interest from other businesses that see the benefits of what Inverness Campus has to offer, we anticipate continuing growth of the commercial sector in the coming months and years.”
Kirsten MacLeod, Inverness-based ophthalmologist and founder of Scottish Vet Referrals, said one of the attractions in locating at Inverness Campus is its collaborative ethos.
She said: “Being in such close proximity to the organisations we’re looking to work with, such as the Centre for Health Science, UHI and the Scotland’s Rural College will give us many opportunities to combine our research knowledge with other partners.”