£4.5m investment to expand Argyll marine enterprise cluster

Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved more than £4.5 million of funding to expand the European Marine Science Park (EMSP) at Dunstaffnage near Oban.

£4.5m investment to expand Argyll marine enterprise cluster

Malin House

The funding will be used for two new stages in the development of the marine enterprise cluster, a move that is expected to create more than 30 well-paid jobs.

Almost £2m will be invested in fitting out the ground floor of the Park’s Malin House to meet demand from growing marine businesses for laboratory and office space.

HIE has approved a further £2.77m investment in groundworks, road development and car parking provision for the next three buildings planned for the EMSP site, one of which has already received planning consent.

The contract for the groundworks, road development and car parking has been awarded to Argyll firm TSL Contractors Limited. Work is expected to get underway early February with a completion with completion anticipated to be in July.

The groundworks costs are supported by funding from National Cycle Network custodians Sustrans and will include the upgrade of Kirk Road, improving facilities for both cycling and pedestrians.

Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “The Highlands and Islands has an outstanding marine environment with almost two thirds of the UK’s coastline and coastal waters. This natural advantage has created a fitting home for world class marine science, innovation and enterprise.

“It’s important that the region benefits from emerging opportunities from the marine economy, which will help increase productivity and provide valuable rural employment.

“The European Marine Science Park is right at the heart of that. These further investments at the park will support the sustainable growth of our marine industry and contribute to economic recovery. They will create opportunities in skills development and entrepreneurship, particularly for young people, and enhance confidence in Argyll as a business location for inward investors.”

Malin House was completed in 2012, with initially just the first floor fitted out as office space. This has been fully occupied for some time now and is home to ten different marine sector companies, active in a broad range of commercial marine activity.

The fit-out investment has been prompted by companies at the park expressing need for additional office and laboratory space to enable them to expand their commercial activity. The design of the new workspaces has been undertaken in consultation with those companies.

Adjacent to Malin House is the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS), part of the University of the Highlands and Islands network, which plays a key role nurturing incubation companies before they look to expand into Malin House.

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