A robot gave a helping hand at the opening of a new £4.5million life sciences building at Inverness Campus yesterday.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney admitted being nervous as he pressed the button to instruct the Meccano machine to pull the ribbon for the official opening of the latest addition to the growing campus, called Solasta House.
Thankfully, the unveiling of the plaque went ahead without a hitch and Mr Swinney was then given a first-hand look at the research and development activity on site.
He said: “Solasta House represents the latest stage of the development of the Inverness Campus and reaffirms our commitment to invest and grow the £5.2 billion Scottish life sciences sector.
“The new laboratory and business space will support the development of innovative products and services in health science and technology, such as those demonstrated at today’s business showcase, and bolster the region’s reputation as a place for state-of-the-art facilities and company growth support.”
The project was led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and built by local firm Robertson Construction.
More than 900 employees are based at the campus with future plans including the development of a new hotel and collaborative work with the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Mr Swinney added: “This will provide a lasting legacy and provides an opportunity for HIE to have an impact across the globe in this field.”
Eight firms are already housed in the building, which is expected to be 75% full by summer.
HIE chairman Professor Lorne Crera said: “We have been developing Inverness Campus with a strong ethos of collaboration between commercial, research and education activities and an emphasis on life sciences.
“Of equal importance to us is that activities here should benefit communities and economies across the region.
“I am delighted that the Deputy First Minister has been able to see some examples of that today, as well as meeting some of the young people attracted to the region by the opportunities presented by the growth in life sciences and technology.
“The growth of activity here reflects the attraction of Inverness Campus to investors and businesses, as well as the continued growth in the life sciences sector in our region.”