New £12.5m research hub to open in Inverness
A new research facility is to open in Inverness with the aim of helping tackle challenges animal diseases and climate change pose to agriculture.
The £12.5m Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre (RAVIC) is due to be fully up and running later this year.
The project is being led by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).
RAVIC will house SRUC's existing Centre for Epidemiology and Planetary Health and form part of Scotland's new School of Veterinary Medicine.
The project has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Scottish Funding Council and SRUC.
Businesses and entrepreneurs have been sought to take residence at the centre and help develop new products, services and solutions to overcome a range of problems, including food security.
RAVIC is also to work closely with SRUC's Veterinary Surveillance Intelligence Unit, recently developed to provide new ways to help farmers deal with animal diseases, increase livestock production efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
Under construction at Highlands and Islands Enterprise's Inverness Campus, the centre will have several commercial business incubation units, a lecture theatre and laboratories.
Director Prof George Gunn said: "The Highland innovation centre will help short circuit the gap that exists between science and business to unlock the true potential of Scotland's blue and green economies to create high value jobs.
"The development reinforces SRUC's commitment to expanding its regional presence in the area and it will also be an important addition to the existing range of expertise already on Inverness Campus."