Construction work is now under way on a new £9m life sciences innovation centre at Inverness Campus in the Highlands.
The 2500m² building will provide facilities for businesses to work collaboratively with academia on innovative life science projects.
It will provide access to high-tech research equipment and lab conditions for collaborative research, particularly in the fields of medical nanotechnology and active health.
The centre will also support wider collaboration in research, innovation and commercialisation with NHS Highland, which is currently developing the National Treatment Centre Highland on the campus.
Together, this is forecast to create around 190 jobs.
The partnership project – between the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – has benefitted from funding from both the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal and the European Regional Development Fund.
Designed by Austin-Smith: Lord, the construction work is being carried out by Robertson Construction Northern.
Professor Todd Walker, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “It is exciting to see the construction phase of this collaborative venture get under way.
“The development will increase our research in fields such as medical nanotechnology and active health and will help us to provide greater support to the region’s life sciences sector.
“We hope to create a facility of national significance which will bring economic benefits to our region through innovation, commercialisation, company and job creation and the attraction and retention of talent.”
Alistair Dodds CBE, chair of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, added: “This is a great milestone for Inverness Campus and for the region’s life sciences sector.
“The commercial opportunities, high value career options and innovation and research initiatives that will stem from this development will have region-wide benefits.
“Importantly, it will help attract and retain talent and sustain populations, which of course is crucial to regional prosperity.
“I am delighted to see work get under way and very much look forward to seeing the new life sciences innovation centre take shape.”