Private sector partner sought for £1bn Edinburgh BioQuarter project

Edinburgh BioQuarter has formally launched its public procurement process for a private sector partner to help deliver a £1 billion health innovation district which will create jobs, homes, and a community for thousands of people in Edinburgh.

Private sector partner sought for £1bn Edinburgh BioQuarter project

A vision for the expansion of Edinburgh BioQuarter

Located just three miles south of Edinburgh city centre, BioQuarter 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 to grow. 

Over the lifetime of the development, there is the potential to grow to a health innovation community of 20,000 with 2,500 residential units on site. It will create an entirely new neighbourhood for one of Europe’s most vibrant capital cities, supporting growth and regeneration for local communities. BioQuarter is expected to receive £550m of discounted capital investment, supporting 4,310 jobs in construction and contributing £270m gross, cumulative, discounted construction impact to Scottish GVA.

Private sector partner sought for £1bn Edinburgh BioQuarter project

Indicative plan of new Edinburgh BioQuarter showing the potential scale of development

EBQ3 Ltd has been formed between the City of Edinburgh Council, regional 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, a key partner in the innovation ecosystem, which has its two acute hospitals based on site.

BioQuarter has helped make Edinburgh the number one city in the UK outside of London for foreign direct investment. The 167-acre site is already home to award-winning health innovation businesses based at NINE, its Innovation Centre, the globally renowned Edinburgh Medical School, many of the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading 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 approximately 64 acres.

Private sector partner sought for £1bn Edinburgh BioQuarter project

Plans for the residential quarter

Scottish Government minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise Ivan McKee MSP 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 £6.5bn 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.”

Councillor Adam McVey, leader of City of Edinburgh Council, 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.”

Private sector partner sought for £1bn Edinburgh BioQuarter project

NINE at Edinburgh BioQuarter

Adrian Gillespie, CEO of Scottish Enterprise, 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.”

Private sector partner sought for £1bn Edinburgh BioQuarter project

Aerial shot of existing development

Professor Peter Mathieson, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, added: “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.”

Contracting authorities are hosting an online bidders event on Tuesday 9 November, from 9-10am. Please complete registration.

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