Plans submitted for Edinburgh Innovation Hub at Queen Margaret University
Proposals to build an Edinburgh Innovation Hub for the food and drink industry from Queen Margaret University in East Lothian have been submitted to the local council.
The Hub, which is a flagship development by Queen Margaret University and East Lothian Council, will support innovative food and beverage start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the East Lothian and Edinburgh regions.
Acting as a new home for the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation which was founded in 2014, the Hub will also offer specialist service for research and business development and companies will also be able to access a commercial laboratory, as well as office and events spaces.
The project has already received planning permission in principle but must await approval from the local council before construction can go ahead. £28.6 million has so far been invested in the Hub by the UK Government, while the Scottish Government is putting forward £1.4 million, and £10 million will come from East Lothian Council in connection with the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.
Principal of Queen Margaret University, Paul Grice commented on the news in a statement: “The Hub will support research, innovation and growth, particularly in the food and drink sector, which is hugely important for East Lothian, building on its title of Scotland’s Food & Drink County. It will also have a strong focus on the life science and tech sectors, which will be beneficial to all of our communities.
“Companies locating to the Hub will benefit from facilitated access to the University, its social and intellectual capital and to its business support services. As we continue to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and deal with a changed economic picture, this development will also be key in bringing quality jobs and investment to the area.”
If design proposals for the Hub are approved, construction will begin this year and be complete by 2025.
The Hub is part of the wider Edinburgh Innovation Park project, which aims to establish a community of collaborative food, drink, and health enterprises, as well as acting as a space for other innovative companies and academia. The first phase of the Innovation Park is due to be finished next year.
Last summer, Queen Mary University announced the launch of a new BSc (Hons) Food Science and Innovation degree to meet the large demand for specialist graduates who are qualified to work in fields such as food processing and production, new product development, sensory technology and analysis, or food microbiology.