27 Mar 2017
The City-Region Deal sets out the areas where the Scottish Government will commit investment of up to £135m and the UK Government will commit investment of up to £53.1m, which, together with £127m of further investment by the Council and partners, will deliver a step change in digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, innovation and infrastructure.
The impact of the deal on Inverness and the wider Highland region will be significant in securing the long-term productivity and economic growth of the region and position it as a region of digital opportunity. Regional partners estimate that the City-Region Deal funding of £315m could unlock up to an additional £800 million of investment by the private sector.
The university has been awarded £9m from the UK Government, as part of the city-region deal to establish commercialisation, academic and clinical capacity to deliver projects in health, social care and life sciences.
A custom-built facility on the Inverness Campus will operate as a flexible open access unit supporting the interaction between the health service, the academic sector and commercial partners. Resulting projects will generate new products and services, business start-ups and licensing deals, as well as service quality improvements and new models for clinical delivery for the NHS.
The new facility will be collocated with a proposed NHS elective care centre and a new life science building owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Although it will be physically located on the Inverness Campus, it will support developments around the region.
A key focus is to expand the range and scope of the commercial life science sector in the Highlands and Islands, providing the infrastructure and personnel to draw in new investment and create jobs.
Development areas will be linked to the regional economy, demography and geography including disease management and prevention, rural health, digital health, integrated health and social care and technology assisted living.
This initial investment will help to recruit technical and business specialist staff to design and operate the proposed facility. At the same time, the university will work closely with NHS Highland to build capacity in clinically active research staff who will work in partnership with university research teams.
Recruitment of staff will begin immediately and will develop over the next two and a half years. The new facility should be occupied towards the end of 2019.