18 Jan Roslin Biocentre – Leaving a legacy
Roslin BioCentre was originally established in 1999 to provide quality accommodation and
support facilities for the commercialisation of science from the world-renowned Roslin
Institute and other academic spin-outs.
Located on a 36-acre site in Midlothian, the science park benefitted from recognition as the
birthplace of Dolly the sheep, the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell, a first by
researchers at The Roslin Institute in 1996.
Roslin BioCentre went on to become a location of choice for a wide range of life science
companies, providing practical property solutions to meet the growing business needs of its
tenants. The infrastructure and facilities were unrivalled in the region, catering for both
office and lab-based organisations, offering flexible and affordable accommodation with
shared facilities keeping costs down for companies in early development.
Tenants enjoyed a refreshing, rural environment in the shadow of the Pentland Hills, less
than a mile from Roslin Village and the world-famous Rosslyn Chapel, whilst being easily
accessible to Edinburgh city and other towns.
As the region developed, Roslin BioCentre formed part of a cluster of science parks and
research institutes and was a founding member of Edinburgh Science Triangle, later evolving
into Midlothian Science Zone, providing tenants with access to academia, research and the
potential for collaboration.
For over 20 years, Roslin BioCentre was a thriving scientific community with an impressive
track record of growth and development of early stage companies and this was further
reflected in the variety of commercial and academic life science related organisations that
flourished on the park.
In 2008, the University of Edinburgh produced a Masterplan for Easter Bush Campus with
developments staged over a 20-year period. Part of the first phase saw The Royal (Dick)
School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute relocate to new facilities for clinical
practice, teaching and research.
In 2013, development of a new business gateway and campus hub was announced, pending
closure of Roslin BioCentre. The Roslin Innovation Centre opened in August 2017 offering
41,000 sq feet of state-of-the-art flexible office and lab space to companies at various
stages, from start-up/spin outs to larger established companies.
This provided a timely opportunity for Ingenza Ltd, a leading industrial biotechnology
company and a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh founded in 2002. The company
was based at Roslin BioCentre for over 10 years where they had already achieved significant
growth to a team of over 40 and were ready to embark on their next stage of expansion.
Throughout the years, many Roslin BioCentre tenants achieved significant success and
recognition. Solid Form Solutions grew from a team of two to over 20 at Roslin BioCentre,
relocating to Edinburgh Technopole in 2012, and were recently acquired by Avista Pharma
Solutions and subsequently Cambrex.
Other companies transitioning from the incubator space within Midlothian Science Zone
include Censo Biotechnologies Ltd, a leader in the creation of induced pluripotent stem cells
and one of the first guests to take up accommodation at Roslin Innovation Centre’s novel
Research Hotel, during construction of bespoke office and lab space at the nearby Pentlands
Throughout the years, Roslin BioCentre operated a simple but effective philosophy for new
tenants of ‘Walk in, switch on the lights and start work’. It was with much reflection, pride
and some sadness that these lights were turned off in August 2018 when the last tenants
It is without doubt that the excellent level of customer service, support, knowledge and
warmth of the team, led by CEO Malcolm Bateman, will be remembered and the dynamic
research and growth of many of those fledgling companies will continue to make their mark
for many years to come – hopefully within Midlothian Science Zone.
Malcolm Bateman, Roslin BioCentre CEO said:
“It has been a great pleasure to have been part of the Roslin BioCentre team and I would
like to acknowledge everyone’s contribution in supporting the many successful companies
that have come through our doors. We have enjoyed working with all our tenant
companies and hope that we played a part in helping these organisations to prosper and
grow. It is a great outcome to hand over the baton to John and his team at the Roslin
Innovation Centre to take the legacy forward”.
John Mackenzie, Roslin Innovation Centre CEO commented:
“The success to date of Roslin Innovation Centre is very much built on the Roslin BioCentre
legacy. Since opening in August 2017, our tenant intake has gone from strength to strength
and with 17 tenant companies in residence and sitting at approximately two thirds
occupancy, this also builds on the regional strength and collaboration of Midlothian Science
With the operations team from Roslin BioCentre now effectively running Roslin Innovation
Centre, our collective success thus far is as much down to our people and culture as well as
our state-of-the-art buildings! My own personal thanks therefore goes to them as we
continue on the journey to the continued development of a world leading animal health and
agriculture research and innovation campus.“
BLOG CONTRIBUTION BY LESLEY PARSONS, MARKETING, MIDLOTHIAN SCIENCE ZONE