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BioHub build delivering community and economic benefits in Aberdeen

The transformational BioHub project for Aberdeen’s life sciences sector provides an economic boost for the construction sector and creates career pathways for young people in the city.

BioHub, led by Opportunity North East, is a £40 million investment on the Foresterhill Health Campus to make Aberdeen one of the most dynamic locations in the UK to create and grow life sciences businesses.

Co-funded by the UK Government, Scottish Government and ONE, BioHub is now halfway through its main construction phase. More than 60 people across multiple trades are currently on-site working on installing cladding and glazing, partition construction, mechanical and electrical installation, and brickwork.

The iconic new-build will house up to 400 scientific entrepreneurs commercialising research to transform healthcare delivery, improve patient outcomes and grow the innovation-led economy in the region.

Community benefits delivered by main contractor Robertson Construction include construction apprenticeships with North East Scotland College, careers and skills sessions with pupils across primary and secondary schools, work placements, and volunteering with local charities. A garden for NHS staff has also benefitted from a donation of benches.

Jennifer Craw, chief executive of ONE, said: “The whole team delivering BioHub has done an outstanding job over the past nine months to realise the project vision on site. The build phase of this transformational public and private investment provides valuable construction jobs in the city and inspires young people setting out on their careers. These benefits are significant to the community and economy just now. BioHub will open in the autumn and accelerate the growth of our life sciences sector. Including more high-value jobs in start-up, spin-out and scaling businesses and bringing new therapies, treatments, technology and digital solutions to market.”

BioHub will provide laboratory, incubation and collaboration space, custom accommodation, specialist business growth programmes, and access to expert networks and investors. It is a flagship addition to Aberdeen’s Foresterhill Health Campus, one of Europe’s largest integrated clinical, research and teaching sites for life sciences and medicine.

BioHub has secured £20 million of capital funding jointly provided by the UK Government and Scottish Government via the Aberdeen City Region Deal. ONE has committed up to £5.6 million to deliver BioHub’s objectives. NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen are strategic delivery partners in the project.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “Despite the challenges of coronavirus the BioHub is making fantastic progress and already providing a boost to the area.  When completed, it will grow the North East’s life sciences sector and bring new jobs to the region. Across Scotland the UK Government is investing more than £1.7 billion in projects to level up communities and build back better from the pandemic.”

Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “The BioHub project is playing an important role in helping Aberdeen diversify its economy and transition to a prosperous net zero future. As well as providing immediate benefits to the skills development and employment of young people through its construction, it offers long-term opportunities to those with ambitions in the life sciences sector.”

University of Aberdeen Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor George Boyne said: “The BioHub provides an exciting opportunity for the region and its community, and the University is delighted to see it progress on the Healthcare campus. The BioHub provides the infrastructure to support the growth of the region’s life science industry through spin outs, start-ups and new industry collaboration, and the University of Aberdeen congratulates the whole team for making it a reality.  The new facility will help our researchers and students to develop their skills and to collaborate with our partners to find innovative solutions to healthcare needs.”

NHS Grampian Deputy Chief Executive, Adam Coldwells, said: “NHS Grampian is delighted to see the development of the BioHub on our Foresterhill Health Campus. Healthcare organisations face unprecedented challenges that require transformative innovations in diagnostics, therapies, and digital technology. As a strategic partner, we look forward to collaborating closely in all aspects of BioHub activity and supporting efforts to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes here in the UK and internationally. As an anchor organisation, we also very much welcome this substantial investment in life sciences in the north east of Scotland.” 

Gordon Milne, regional managing director, Robertson Construction Eastern, said: “At Robertson, it is important for us that we leave a positive legacy everywhere we work. We aspire to deliver much more than a high-quality facility and aim to provide real opportunities for individuals to learn and benefit from our projects. As we progress with the final stages of the construction programme at BioHub, we will continue our engagement with the local community and build on what has already been delivered to date.”

Councillor Andy Kille, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, is chair of the Aberdeen City Region Real Joint Committee. He said: “Given the global circumstances in which we are operating, it is tremendously encouraging to see this project literally taking shape before our eyes. One of our ACRD objectives was to make sure that we uniquely position the area at the forefront of life sciences and developing the next generation of technologies. The BioHub project is an important mechanism in that ambition.”

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “It is exciting to see the progress and benefits being realised at BioHub. The Aberdeen City Region Deal is delivering an iconic life sciences building for the region, creating jobs here in the north east and sowing the seeds for future employment through careers and skills sessions.”

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