The new Roslin Innovation Centre, a world-leading bioscience hub bringing together academia, research and enterprise opened last August. Here John Mackenzie, the centre’s CEO, gives us a tour and explains why it is so special.
Roslin Innovation Centre is part of a new £30 million multi-purpose and multi occupancy gateway building on the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus, in Midlothian.
The opening of Roslin Innovation Centre in August 2017 offers genuine opportunities for leading innovation companies to be part of an integrated and collaborative community and is ideally placed to allow for the natural development of business collaborators, with laboratory and office space situated close to science and clinical livestock expertise.
To facilitate world-leading commercialisation and innovation, new products and services in support of global food and environmental security, sustainable rural development and for the wellbeing of animals and people by specifically addressing:
- improving the health and productivity of livestock
- helping control livestock diseases
- One Health – zoonoses and food borne infections
- experimental medicine – animal models of human disease
ONE HEALTH, ONE LOCATION
Midlothian is at the heart of a growing cluster of life science, animal health and agritech organisations, represented by the newly launched Midlothian Science Zone. Supported by Midlothian Council and partners, this initiative aims to increase levels of collaboration between academia and business, whilst raising the profile of world-leading research and access to state-of-the-art facilities.
Easter Bush Campus, Pentlands Science Park, Edinburgh Technopole, the Midlothian BioCampus and the University of Edinburgh are all within easy reach of each other. Together with partners and stakeholders, this region has the highest concentration of animal science related expertise anywhere in Europe.
LIFE AFTER DOLLY
Roslin benefits from global recognition as the birthplace of Dolly the Sheep, the first animal to be cloned from an adult cell and is recognised internationally in the field of life sciences.
With an extra 2.7 billion people on the planet projected by 2050, the market drivers are clearly there for Scotland to innovate in food security, which together with environmental security and cyber security make up the three biggest challenges and threats for future generations.
FUNDING THE FUTURE
In recognition of the need to safeguard the future of the world’s food supplies, the Universityof Edinburgh is investing around £35 million in the new Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, set up to help improve the effectiveness and sustainability of agri-food systems to tackle the challenges of global population growth, rapid urbanisation, food and environmental security, and diet and health.
On 25 January 2018, Bill Gates and Government Minister Penny Mordaunt were VIP guests and keynote speakers at Easter Bush Campus to formally launch the Global Academy, and also made announcements of significant funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Bill Gates announced $40 million funding for the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), a charity at nearby neighbours Pentlands Science Park, that works to improve the accessibility and affordability of livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics in developing countries.
In her speech, the Secretary of State also unveiled a package of investments in research to improve the resilience of farmers’ crops and livestock to natural disasters and protect them from diseases. This included £4 million for the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), based in the University’s Roslin Institute at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
COLLABORATION NEAR AND FAR
Our connected development attracts business and talent from on Campus, Edinburgh and the surrounding region to further afield.
The commercialisation arm of The Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Roslin Technologies Ltd, occupy office and lab space with us, providing opportunities for investors looking to capitalise on the growing demand for food and agricultural products.
Synpromics Ltd relocated from within the region to occupy customised office and laboratory space to address their rapid expansion needs in meeting increased global demand for its cutting-edge gene control technology and a growing portfolio of international customers.
And from the other side of the world, New Zealand-based AbacusBio Ltd, has taken office space – the company are international leaders in the application of science and technology in primary food production, and recognised opportunities to working more closely with UK clients to grow and capture value across the supply chain – from farm to plate.
Scotland already punches well above its weight internationally in the life science sector and is uniquely placed to be world leading in animal health, agriculture and aquaculture – this Triple A category makes up three of the seven sub sectors of Scottish life sciences.
By taking advantage of this opportunity and realising such an ambition, will make a significant contribution in achieving the sector’s goal of £8 billion by 2025.