Another significant milestone has been reached in the delivery of the Edinburgh Innovation Hub, a joint venture between East Lothian Council and Queen Margaret University (QMU).

Planning permission has now been granted for the 7,200 sqm Edinburgh Innovation Hub, that will be a nationally significant facility to capture, support and grow innovation-led enterprise in East Lothian and the wider regional area.

Focusing on important high growth sectors with specialist needs, including the food and drink sector, the Hub will support innovative start-ups and small to medium sized businesses, delivering a specialist service for research and business development. It will become a vibrant new economic innovation cluster featuring serviced and fitted commercial laboratory, office and events space.

The venture is supported by £28.6 million from the UK Government, £1.4 million from the Scottish Government and £10 million from East Lothian Council as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal (ESES City Region Deal). 

Councillor Norman Hampshire, Leader of East Lothian Council, said: “This is a great example of partnership working and the benefits that the ESES City Region Deal is bringing to East Lothian and the wider area. East Lothian has long been known for its agriculture and fishing industries and that has naturally led to us being a leading area for innovative food and drink businesses and product development. This in turn supports the local economy, in particular the hospitality and tourism industry. This Hub, and the support it will provide to food and drink and other important industries, I’m sure will be invaluable.”

Sir Paul Grice, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “We are delighted that full planning approval has been granted for this hugely important development that will do so much to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, help bring quality jobs and investment to the local area, and support local and national economic development. We look forward to seeing fulfilment of this project which is underpinned by many years of strong partnership work between the University and East Lothian Council, supported by the ESES City Region Deal.”

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Neil Gray, said: “The Scottish Government is proud to support this Innovation Hub which will encourage entrepreneurship in East Lothian and beyond. By turning cutting edge research into businesses, we are supporting the entrepreneurs of the future. This will help us to achieve the vision set out in the National Innovation Strategy for Scotland, which is to become one of the most innovative small nations in the world over the next decade.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, said: “This new innovation hub will help nurture businesses, foster creativity and bring jobs and prosperity to East Lothian. There is a huge amount of potential in Scotland's food and drink sector, and this facility will help to unlock this, and build on other strengths.  The UK Government is investing £28.6 million in the Innovation Hub and more than £380m in levelling up across South East Scotland."

The Hub is a first step in the development of the wider Edinburgh Innovation Park on land adjacent to the QMU campus. The development was granted planning permission in principle in March 2019, as part of a mixed use development, including new homes and a new primary school, business & industry use and community facilities.

It is hoped that site activity will begin later this year with completion estimated in 2025.


Published: Friday, 29th September 2023