The Roslin Innovation Centre is the location of choice for companies undertaking research in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences; Agri Tech and One Health industries. Since August 2017, the Centre is a hub of innovation and the gateway to the renowned Easter Bush Campus. We spoke to John Mackenzie, CEO at Roslin Innovation Centre, who gave us an insight into the role of the Centre within Edinburgh’s life sciences sector.
As part of the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus, the Roslin Innovation Centre helps to deliver the aims of the Campus Vision to 2025 to deliver a European Centre of Excellence in Animal Sciences and Food Security, please explain the fundamental role of the Centre.
Roslin Innovation Centre is part of an exciting new £30 million multi-purpose and multi occupancy gateway Charnock Bradley Building, located at the epicentre of Easter Bush Campus - home to the largest concentration of fundamental and applied animal sciences research in Europe and supported by a world-class infrastructure.
What we have on Campus is a remarkable combination of academic talent, investment, enterprise and infrastructure within an area which is positioning itself as an internationally significant and world-leading location for scientific advancement.
Intended to connect clinical teaching, research and commercialisation in a space designed to inspire innovation and collaboration, Roslin Innovation Centre has attracted bioscience businesses keen to tap into the wealth of expertise that emanates from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), all at the heart of the ‘Midlothian Science Zone’.
Since August 2017, the Roslin Innovation Centre has been the business gateway to the Easter Bush Campus, the largest concentration of animal related expertise in Europe. What does this mean for budding organisations within Edinburgh’s Life Sciences sector?
On Campus, there is a strong culture of industry engagement with dedicated support available for making industry-academic collaboration work.
Roslin Innovation Centre provides unique opportunities for existing and new industry partners to locate in, and engage with, Campus scientists from concept to outcome. With over two thirds of senior scientists at The Roslin Institute engaging with companies, this enables the Campus to play a key role in supporting the sector.
We offer genuine prospects for leading innovation companies to be part of an integrated and collaborative cluster that is ideally placed to encourage the natural development of business collaborations, providing laboratory and office space close to science and clinical livestock expertise.
We facilitate access to company growth opportunities to aid business development and acceleration, further augmented by the arrival of Roslin Technologies, formed as a joint venture between the University of Edinburgh, two external investors and commercialisation partners.
Roslin Technologies aims to maximise the commercialisation of on Campus research, offering opportunities for investors looking to capitalise on the growing demand for food and agricultural products.
Roslin is an internationally known name in the field of life sciences, gaining global recognition as the birthplace of Dolly the Sheep. What internationally recognised projects are being worked on at the moment?
The Easter Bush Campus is delivering solutions to global challenges within livestock industries and both veterinary and human medicine.
In collaboration with Genus, scientists at The Roslin Institute have recently used advanced genetic techniques to produce pigs that are potentially resilient to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS).
PRRS is endemic in most pig producing countries. Vaccines have mostly failed to stop the spread of the virus, which continues to evolve rapidly. Consequently, it is one of the greatest challenges facing pig producers today. In Europe alone, the disease is estimated to cost the pig industry more than €1.5 billion each year.
Genome-editing offers opportunities to boost food security by reducing waste and losses from infectious diseases, as well as improving animal welfare by reducing the burden of disease.
With this type of specialist research expertise on Campus, Roslin Innovation Centre seeks to secure tenants that are developing innovative, new products and services in support of global food and environmental security, sustainable rural development and for the wellbeing of animals and people.
We have a current occupancy of over 60 per cent, which is a combination of innovative businesses in agritech, animal bioscience, life science and One Health (which studies the intersection of human, animal and environmental sciences). These companies are at varying stages of development from small start-ups to major anchor tenants.
Edinburgh’s Life Sciences sector is vast and globally renowned. What do you think are Edinburgh’s main strengths in this sector?
Scotland punches well above its weight internationally in life sciences. Animal health, agriculture and aquaculture (A3) make up three of the seven sub sectors of Scottish life sciences and Easter Bush Campus already has the highest concentration of animal health expertise anywhere in Europe.
With an extra 2.7 billion people on the planet projected by 2050, the market drivers are clearly there for Scotland to innovate in Food Security, which together with Environmental Security and Cyber Security make up the three biggest challenges and threats for our generation and generations to come.
With Roslin Innovation Centre as the business gateway to an international asset that is the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus, located within the Midlothian Science Zone, Scotland is uniquely placed to be world leading in this specific ‘Triple A’ category.
By taking advantage of this opportunity and realising such an ambition, A3 will be contributing its own fair share towards reaching Scotland's Life Sciences sector £8 billion goal by 2025.
What Life Sciences related conference would you like to see come to Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is very successful in attracting prestigious international conferences, many of which are science-based, and this is an opportunity to put the city region and its centres of excellence on the world stage.
BIO International Convention is the world’s largest pharma and biotech partnering event. This year it was hosted in Boston and celebrated 25 years of the convention. BIO2018 attracted over 16,0000 biotechnology and pharma leaders, from more than 70 countries, who come together for one week of intensive networking to discover new opportunities and promising partnerships.
The Scotland pavilion was hosted by Scottish Development International and together with other Scottish life science companies, including Synpromics Ltd and NHS Research Scotland, this showcased our unique research strengths and Scotland as a location of choice for businesses, researchers, healthcare professionals and investors.