£1bn project

BioQuarter seeks partner in plan to build homes

Edinburgh Bioquarter

New community: the BioQuarter

Edinburgh BioQuarter is seeking a private sector partner to help create a £1billion health innovation district and – for the first time – introduce housing.

A partner will be tasked with developing 64 acres as a mix of homes, shops, cafes and other facilities to create a new community.

Speaking today at the Edinburgh COP26 summit, organised by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, BioQuarter director Anna Stamp said that like many science parks people drive to it and then leave.

“To attract pubs and shops we need residential on the site,” she said.

EBQ3 Ltd has been formed between the City of Edinburgh Council, regional development agency Scottish Enterprise and Edinburgh University to lead the procurement of a private partner for the proposed strategic joint venture partnership.

BioQuarter, three miles south of the city centre, is expected to be worth around £140m a year to the Scottish economy in the next decade, employing almost 13,000 people and supporting more than 200 health innovation companies.  

Over the lifetime of the development, there is the potential to grow to a health innovation community of 20,000 with 2,500 residential units on site.

BioQuarter is expected to receive £550m of discounted capital investment, supporting 4,310 jobs in construction and contributing £270m gross, cumulative, discounted construction impact to Scottish GVA.

The public sector led programme also includes major stakeholders NHS Lothian, a key partner in the innovation ecosystem, which has its two acute hospitals based on site.

BioQuarter has helped make Edinburgh the number one city in the UK outside of London for foreign direct investment.

The 167-acre site is already home to health innovation businesses based at NINE, its Innovation Centre, the globally renowned Edinburgh Medical School, many of the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading medical research institutes and the 900-bed Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

It also includes the new home of the Usher Institute for data-driven health and social care innovation, set to open in 2023.

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh BioQuarter already plays a pivotal role in world-leading medical research and life sciences innovation, improving people’s lives in Edinburgh and around the world.

“This next chapter in BioQuarter’s development aims to deliver significant and long lasting economic and social benefits for Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond.

“In partnership with Scottish Enterprise, the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian, the University of Edinburgh will not only develop one of the largest medical campuses in the UK but also support an entire residential community, with opportunities for all.”

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise​ Ivan McKee MSP​ said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one of the most exciting investment and collaborative opportunities with far-reaching benefits for investors, local communities and global health innovators alike. It shows that Scotland is very much open for business.

“With the commitment of its public sector partners, BioQuarter has had over £600m public capital investment, with even further investment planned by them over the next five years.​ 

“It has played a key role in Scotland’s successes in the life sciences sector, which has a turnover of £6.5bn and employs over 41,000 people.

“A private sector partner will help deliver a globally significant health innovation community of researchers, academics and clinicians and will continue to foster entrepreneurship, supporting as many as 200 new companies.”

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