£1bn Edinburgh BioQuarter opens partner bidding

Edinburgh BioQuarter — which now plans to have up to 2,500 residential units — has formally launched its public procurement process for a private sector partner.

It said the opportunity to create a £1 billion — the estimated gross development value — health innovation district which will create jobs, homes, and a community for thousands of people in Edinburgh has attracted interest from parties around the world.

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

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

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

The public sector led programme also includes major stakeholders NHS Lothian, which has its two acute hospitals based on site.

The 167-acre site is already home to health innovation businesses based at NINE, its Innovation Centre, the Edinburgh Medical School, many of the University of Edinburgh’s 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.

The land available for development extends to 64 acres.

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee 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 £6.5 bn 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.”

City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey said: “We’re proud to be a partner in Edinburgh BioQuarter, a driving force in Scotland’s thriving life sciences sector and already a prime destination in the UK for healthcare delivery, ground-breaking medical research and health innovation.

“The expansion of the BioQuarter is a key part of Edinburgh’s economic future – an area earmarked for life science development supporting wider growth and regeneration in the south east of the city.

“Edinburgh BioQuarter has the potential to bring in billions of pounds of investment with lasting benefits for local people, connecting jobs, education and opportunities to nearby areas like Greendykes and Craigmillar, where we’re also making major investments in regeneration.

“Working with partners, we’ve already set out our vision for Edinburgh to be the data capital of Europe.

“Upcoming developments at the BioQuarter like the Usher Institute will be the next step in realising this vision, further cementing our international reputation and a critical mass of collaboration between clinicians, researchers and businesses.”

Scottish Enterprise CEO Adrian Gillespie said: “Placemaking and partnership are crucial to ensuring an economy thrives.

“Edinburgh BioQuarter is one of the most significant long-term programmes Scottish Enterprise has undertaken and the work we have done – and continue to do – with our partners to secure the success of the BioQuarter means we are now in a place to take the park to the next phase.

“Alongside the City of Edinburgh Council, the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian, we’ve already invested over £600m in the existing site, with further investment planned in the next five years through pipeline projects, including the new University of Edinburgh Usher Institute.

“Together we are developing a masterplan and placemaking strategy which will form the basis of one of the most exciting investment prospects anywhere and will bring real economic and social benefits for Edinburgh, as well as continuing to grow a world-leading medical research and innovation base right here in Scotland.”

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.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.