Media Release: Inverness campus project board appoints chair

A NEW project board has been formed to plan and deliver the proposed Inverness Campus development at Beechwood, on behalf of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The new board will be chaired by Professor Mary Bownes, a vice-principal of Edinburgh University and professor of developmental biology with strategic responsibility for post-graduate students, research training and community relations.

HIE is leading the project in partnership with a number of organisations including Inverness College, UHI and Highland Council to develop a 215-acre site at Beechwood, just off the A9.

The project is intended to accommodate a major new campus for Inverness College; including proposals for a new business school as well as facilities for spin-out research and incubating technology-based businesses. Student residences and a regional sports centre of excellence are to be included in the development, proposed to sit in attractive parkland. A masterplan and application for outline planning permission is being drawn up by Edinburgh-based MAKE architects and Turnberry Consulting.

Douglas Yule, HIE’s operations director, and a member of the project board, said: “The Inverness Campus will be a centre for innovation and learning, which will bring benefits to the whole of the Highlands and Islands and will help to establish UHI and its founding partners as a major force for tertiary education and research in Scotland.

“This is one of the most significant projects to have been undertaken in the HIE area in the last 50 years and we intend that the benefits from it will flow to the communities of the Highlands and Islands for many decades ahead.”

Negotiations to secure land for the campus from the Department of Rural Affairs are being finalised and HIE hopes to be able to submit an application for outline planning permission early in 2009.

Professor Bownes is already well-known to UHI; she is a member of the UHI research committee. UHI provides higher education programmes through a network of colleges and research centre across the Highlands and Islands. Inverness College is one of UHI’s largest partners.

With many years of experience leading a research team, teaching and developing new courses, Professor Bownes was previously the head of the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Edinburgh. Her current interests lie in public engagement with research, career development for researchers and encouraging school pupils to take an interest in science.

The campus project board will hold its first meeting on July 11. It will meet quarterly throughout the course of the development, playing a key role in advising the project team and monitoring the project’s progress. It will also be supported by a Stakeholders Project Board which includes representatives from UHI, Inverness College, the Scottish Agricultural College and NHS Highland.

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Contact: Mairi Gillies
Phone: 01463 244235