Council leader Adam McVey writes in today's Evening News about how Edinburgh BioQuarter is a driving force in Scotland's thriving life sciences sector.
There is no doubt that Edinburgh’s economy has been disrupted over the last six months. The pandemic made it incredibly clear that we need to build up our resilience against future shocks, making sure our city and its economy is strong and prepared for what comes next.
Our vision of Edinburgh’s future is of a pioneering city, one of inspiration and innovation. Our city has always punched above its weight on the world stage, for example, discovering penicillin and creating the world’s first successfully cloned mammal, Dolly. Our creative and tech sector is strong and we have a high number of start-ups and enterprising organisations that I hope will continue to grow over the next 30 years.
One of the best examples of embodying our pioneering vision is Edinburgh BioQuarter at Little France. A £1bn mixed-use development, it is already a prime destination in the UK for healthcare delivery, ground-breaking medical research and health innovation in the life sciences sector.
BioQuarter is home to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the University of Edinburgh Medical School and many research institutes, including the largest concentration of stem cell scientists in Europe at the Centre for Regeneration and Repair.
This development is a driving force in Scotland’s thriving life sciences sector. There are around 20 companies based at BioQuarter already - developing things like new treatments and drugs, health technologies, diagnostics and therapies and these numbers will increase hugely over time.
As well as the 5,000 people working, studying or teaching at the hospital and university, there are a further 3,000 working on local and global health challenges to find cures and treatments for illnesses that affect every family such as dementia, diabetes, heart disease, MS and Covid-19. They are all at BioQuarter.
The lightening rod that links research and innovation at BioQuarter is data. It is one of the key drivers of growth for Edinburgh and Scotland’s economy. Few other places have systems that combine high-quality data, consistency, and national coverage with the ability to link data for patient-based analysis and follow up. BioQuarter is one of these places.
All of this innovation has the potential to bring in billions of pounds for Edinburgh’s economy and there are lasting benefits for local people too. As BioQuarter moves into the next chapter of its development, a new long-term masterplan will see it expand into Scotland’s first health innovation district with an eventual community of 20,000 people working or studying alongside a neighbourhood of people who live there.
The neighbourhood will benefit from a range of new amenities including shops, restaurants, gyms, nurseries and much more. It will be a community open to all - a sustainable neighbourhood where local people can access thousands of new jobs, education and opportunity and enjoy spending time out of work too.
This focus of creating a great place to be, coupled with a data-driven ethos and expertise in healthcare will see BioQuarter, its businesses and future residents bring our vision of a pioneering city to life.