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Princess Royal opens Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre in Inverness

By Val Sweeney

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The £12.5 million Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre will develop closer links between science and industry.
The £12.5 million Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre will develop closer links between science and industry.

A pioneering new hub, established to drive innovation and job creation in Scotland’s health, agriculture and aquaculture sectors, is being officially opened by Princess Anne in Inverness today.

The £12.5 million Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre (RAVIC) will develop closer links between science and industry.

It has been developed by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and The Scottish Funding Council.

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It will integrate SRUC’s existing expertise in veterinary services, consultancy, research and education to offer business-tailored support to deliver the new technologies, products and services needed to address emerging global challenges.

Academics, research groups, businesses and students will collaborate to better prepare industry, and the public, for climate change, emerging health threats such as avian influenza, antimicrobial resistance, food security and market instability.

Part of SRUC’s new School of Veterinary Medicine, the new Highland hub offers world-class research and innovation facilities including serviced units for prospective businesses.

RAVIC tenants can access onsite expertise and infrastructure, including fully equipped laboratories, meeting rooms, a lecture theatre with extensive modern networking, and hot-desking spaces.

Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: “By leading planetary health innovation in Scotland, we can address global challenges in human and animal health, agriculture and aquaculture.

“Not only will the world-class facilities, equipment and human capital at RAVIC help to deliver new technologies, products and services essential to growing Scotland’s blue and green economies, but they will play a key role in making our new School of Veterinary Medicine a jewel in the country’s tertiary education crown.”

Professor George Gunn, RAVIC Director, said: “Supporting new start, spinout and inward investment opportunities, RAVIC will be at the centre of creating and sustaining rural jobs and recruitment across key sectors and it will strengthen links between education and entrepreneurship throughout rural industries across Scotland.”

RAVIC is based on Inverness Campus, which has been developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to support the region’s fast-growing life sciences sector.

Parts of the campus are now also within the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

Stuart Black, HIE Chief Executive, said: “From the outset, Inverness Campus has been about life sciences and collaboration between companies and between business and academia.

“RAVIC is a great addition to the growing life sciences cluster here that supports the sector across the Highlands and Islands.

“We’re delighted to see the centre formally opened and look forward to continuing our close association with SRUC.”

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