The Princess Royal has opened the latest component of a growing medical hub in Inverness.
The £9.5m Life Sciences Innovation Centre on the city’s university campus is a joint venture between the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
It was backed by funding from the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and the European Regional Development Fund.
Princess Anne, the UHI chancellor, toured the new centre and unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.
The centre aims to attract more life science companies to the region and promote collaboration between academic researchers, industry and the health sector.
It is part of a wider project with Scotland’s first NHS National Treatment Centre – also on the campus – which has also opened recently.
The science centre will integrate research, clinical care and the creation of new commercial opportunities. The centre is forecast to support more than 200 jobs.
UHI principal and vice chancellor Vicki Nairn said: “This event marks the start of a new era for life sciences. We will be working to establish this new centre as a facility of international significance.
“It will strengthen partnerships with industry and the NHS to develop technologies which will have a positive and possibly life-changing impact on our communities and wider society.”
HIE chief executive Stuart Black said: “The centre will support commercial enterprises including new business start-ups and organisations looking to establish a presence in the Highlands and Islands. The benefits will extend across the region and support the continued growth of the life sciences sector.
“All of this will help to attract and retain talent for the region.”
The Scottish Government’s innovation minister Richard Lochhead said: “The opening of the centre represents a new and exciting development for this key sector of the Highlands and Islands economy.
“The centre’s role as a significant driver for future growth in this area is particularly valuable and the new inward investment and jobs it generates will deliver a significant boost to the local economy and community.”
The centre has benefited from £4.96m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund.