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BioQuarter opens bidding for private sector partner for £1bn transformation project

Edinburgh BioQuarter has formally launched its public procurement process for a private sector partner on Find a Tender. The opportunity to create a £1billion (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, which sits just three miles south of Edinburgh city centre, is expected to be worth around £140m 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 £550million of discounted capital investment, supporting 4,310 jobs in construction and contributing £270million gross, cumulative, discounted construction impact to Scottish GVA.

EBQ3 Ltd has been formed between the City of Edinburgh Council, regional development agency Scottish Enterprise and the world top 20 ranked 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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

Contracting Authorities hosted an online bidders event on Tuesday 9th November.

Edinburgh BioQuarter Health Innovation District
Joint Venture Bidders’ Event.
Watch Recording

The closing date for submissions for tenders to participate in the development of our vision for Edinburgh BioQuarter is Friday 7th January, 2022, at 12 noon.

Notes to Editor:

For details on the future plans for the health innovation district see https://edinburghbioquarter.com/opportunity

  • EBQ3 Ltd is owned by City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh who are aligned in their collective vision for BioQuarter and are the contracting authorities for the joint venture opportunity.
  • BioQuarter is home to some of Scotland’s leading life sciences companies based at NINE, its Life Sciences Innovation Centre. Notable companies based at the site include Malvern Panalytical LifeArc, RoslinCT, Fios Genomics and CALCIVIS. More details and case studies can be found at edinburghbioquarter.com
  • Over the last two decades, Edinburgh BioQuarter has played a pivotal role in Scotland’s successes in the life sciences sector, which has a turnover in excess of £6.5bn and employs over 41,000 people.
  • Paul Lawrence is the Executive Director of Place at City of Edinburgh Council and the nominated Chairperson for the Edinburgh BioQuarter Strategy Board. This strategic partnership also includes NHS Lothian, Scottish Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh and was brought together through a Collaboration Agreement signed in 2017. The role of Chair rotates between its four member organisations:
    • Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency and a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government. To deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy, we work with partners in the public and private sectors to find and exploit the best opportunities.
    • NHS Lothian provides a range of primary, community and acute hospital based healthcare for the populations of Edinburgh, East Lothian Midlothian and West Lothian. As s a national centre of expertise, specific specialties are also provided to people in neighbouring Fife and the Borders and right across Scotland.  Innovation and continuous quality improvement in patient treatment, care and safety is among the organisation’s core objectives. NHS Lothian has an annual budget of 1.6 billion and employs around 26,000 staff.
    • The University of Edinburgh is a global university, rooted in Scotland. We are internationally recognised for our research, development and innovation and we have provided world-class teaching to our students for more than 425 years. We are the largest university in Scotland, with more than 43,000 students and nearly 16,000 staff. We are a founding member of the UK’s Russell Group of leading research universities and a member of the League of European Research Universities.
    • City of Edinburgh Council www.edinburgh.gov.uk