Following a competitive tendering process, Heron Brothers Limited has been awarded the construction contract for the Edinburgh Innovation Hub, a joint venture between East Lothian Council and Queen Margaret University (QMU).

Planning permission was granted in September last year for the 7,200 sqm Edinburgh Innovation Hub, that will be a nationally significant facility to capture, support and grow innovation-led enterprise.

The Hub will comprise flexible laboratory, office and fully equipped meeting and conference spaces for rent by high growth small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

It will support and grow the innovation and commercial knowledge sectors, bringing together research, industry and academia under one roof, creating opportunities for synergies and knowledge-sharing. Tenants will be able to rent accommodation packages, for move-in ready space, that fits their size and needs. The design of the Hub will enable tenants to take up more space as and when they need to.

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 another major milestone for this enormously important project. We will be starting on site before the end of January, with a planned completion date of 2025. The support this facility will provide to the food and drink and other important economic sectors, including tech and life sciences, is huge and will no doubt attract and support some truly innovative businesses.

“The 52 acre Edinburgh Innovation Park adjacent to the Edinburgh Innovation Hub will transform a strategic economic development site, owned by East Lothian Council, into a thriving, nationally significant cluster of knowledge exchange, innovation and high value business growth. An important investment for the future, it will create a sought-after location for supported business growth and the expected significant increase in high value jobs for East Lothian, which very much aligns with our aim to make East Lothian the best place in Scotland in which to live, work and do business. The Hub and Innovation Park are expected to bring about a marked boost to the local economy.”

Sir Paul Grice, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “With the contractor appointed, we look forward to witnessing the construction of the Edinburgh Innovation Hub, and to realising the benefits that it offers for the communities we serve. Along with driving economic development locally and nationally, the Hub will act as a gateway into the University for businesses, increase opportunities at QMU for industry-relevant research and knowledge exchange, promote an entrepreneurial culture, and increase the vibrancy of the area around the campus.”

Cathal Heron, Regional Director of Heron Bros Ltd, said: “It’s a privilege to work with East Lothian Council and Queen Margaret University on this state-of-the-art facility. The Innovation Hub will be a nationally significant facility in developing innovation-led enterprise, and we look forward to the successful completion of such an important project.”

The Hub will help to initiate 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 wider mixed use development, including new homes and a new primary school, business & industry use and community facilities.

More information on the Edinburgh Innovation Hub is on the website.

Published: Friday, 19th January 2024