The move is another addition to the Campus which is being developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as an outstanding location which attracts commercial, research and academic organisations while supporting further expansion of some of the region’s key sectors with a particular focus on life sciences.
The investment will allow SRUC to establish a ground-breaking Centre of Excellence for Digital Agriculture and Animal Health. The new facility will enable the SRUC to expand its research and commercial operations and improve scientific and education services which will help secure improvements in animal and human health.
The expansion of SRUC on the Campus was welcomed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
HIE’s Ruaraidh MacNeil, project director of Inverness Campus, said: “Attracting companies to the Campus demonstrates the appeal of the collaborative opportunity on offer for them. We are delighted to be working with SRUC on its plans for expansion at Inverness Campus. SRUC is already involved in a variety of collaborative projects at the Campus working with other academic institutions, NHS and commercial companies. These plans bring more opportunities to expand this joint working and boost the Campus animal health offering. SRUC has been a key member of the Inverness Campus Partnership Forum since its inception in 2010.”
The investment will enable an estimated six new posts to be created to harness the available data collected within SRUC to drive its business and also to deliver content for online learning postgraduate digital courses and continuing professional development.
It will take a new approach by combining for the first time multidisciplinary strengths in veterinary disease surveillance, research, education and rural business consultancy, housed in a new building on Inverness Campus.
Inverness Campus is one of Scotland’s most ambitious projects. The 215-acre site is being developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as centre of collaboration between enterprise, education and research to support the further expansion of key sectors. There is particular focus on life sciences with Enterprise Area status offering training, recruitment and rates incentives for companies in the sector.
The new Centre of Excellence will build on the existing collaboration on the Campus between SRUC’s veterinary epidemiology research centre and its farm and rural business consultants.
SRUC’s academic director Professor Jamie Newbold said: “We’re very excited about this new development in our partnership with HIE. SRUC has an ambitious regional, national and global strategy to increase its positive impact on rural economies. Key to our new strategy is collaboration with existing and new partners, achieved through the sharing of expertise, resources and facilities.
“Our new Centre will open up huge opportunities and give us the scope to deliver new services. Examples include the harnessing of ‘big data’ and digital technology for use in research and education and improvements in the responsiveness and impact of the advisory services we offer to local farmers.”
Discussions are well advanced for the sale of land and it is anticipated that the new Centre could open at Inverness Campus in early 2019. Together with the SRUC services already based at An Lòchran, this new investment provides an improvement in the way different disciplines work now and the opportunity for future expansion of research capacity in these fields.
SRUC will also work with a number of educational institutions to develop improved undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary education in the region. The new building will include high quality teaching facilities for veterinary students, providing flexible and efficient space that can be adapted to suit the latest pedagogy.
The SAC Consulting veterinary surveillance functions, currently operating from the city’s Drummondhill, will relocate to the new facility in spring 2019.