Edinburgh Innovation Park - Update

Growing a Happy Economy

Professor Petra Wend, Principal, QMU

Queen Margaret University is focused on serving the community and improving quality
of life through education and research which is relevant to society’s needs. We provide education, research and knowledge exchange work in health and rehabilitation, business, and the creative industries. Work in food and drink has also been a very important part of our ‘DNA’.

Now QMU is championing the delivery of facilities at Edinburgh Innovation Park to nurture businesses aligned to our areas of expertise that will contribute not just to the prosperity of the region, but that will enhance the wellbeing of the community.

More details of the Edinburgh Innovation Park proposals are set out in this newsletter along with updates on progress on its delivery.

Innovation is a term so often linked with science and technology that it is easy to overlook the social potential of changing the way we do things. We see innovation as a mind-set, not just a buzz-word.

I recently had the opportunity to put forward positive ideas and share in the consultation experience to develop a vision for Edinburgh 2050 and made clear our view that ensuring innovation is people-centred should be a key consideration.

Measurement of the success of a region should not focus solely on economic performance but rather on its overall health, wellbeing and happiness.

With East Lothian Council as our partner, we have set out a vision for the land adjacent to Musselburgh campus with innovation and wellbeing at its core. We are seizing a unique opportunity to ensure that innovation and sustainability are delivered here in East Lothian and together we aim to create a vibrant, working community that will serve generations to come.

View plans for a new commercial hub and Edinburgh Innovation Park at Edinburgh Innovation Park Website

Phase 1: Prospectus launched

Enterprise Hub will become a national resource

NEW prospectus for the proposed Edinburgh Innovation Park which sets out out the development case for specialist infrastructure to support small and medium sized enterprises has been launched. Based on a supply-led demand model, Phase 1 of the development is to create an Enterprise Hub for SMEs. The initial buildings proposed on site are a National Food Enterprise Centre and a National Tech Enterprise Centre.

Proposals for Edinburgh Innovation Park centre around creation of two distinct areas on the land adjacent to QMU’s campus. As well as the park, a commercial hub will provide retail and leisure facilities for students, staff and the surrounding local communities.

Local Development Plan safeguards employment land around university

QMU has welcomed the Proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) for East Lothian, which sets out development priorities in the area for the next decade. The University has submitted a response to the consultation.

The proposed LDP designates the land adjacent to the university campus for use for employment purposes, bringing QMU’s plans for an innovation park and commercial hub on the site a step closer.

Responding to the consultation on the proposed LDP, QMU has stressed that successful delivery of Edinburgh Innovation Park, which is expected to create up to 13,000 jobs, is dependent upon the necessary infrastructure, most notably upgrading of the A1 junction.

The university favours an approach that identifies the commercial hub and the innovation park separately from the remainder of the allocation of the land at Craighall to ensure that the infrastructure requirements are clearly identified, and is seeking further information about proposals to open the access link between QMU and Whitehill Farm Road to general traffic.

Proposed Local Development Plan documents can be viewed on East Lothian Council’s website

QMU showcases innovation projects to Chinese delegation

Queen Margaret University has hosted a 21 strong delegation of senior Chinese officials interested to learn about the university’s role in driving innovation at its East Lothian campus.

After a tour of the university building to showcase the innovative sustainable construction methods that have earned QMU recognition for having the greenest campus in the UK since it opened in 2007, the innovation park was the main focus of interest for the visitors.

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism,East Lothian housing spokesmanCouncillor Norman Hampshire and Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, joined the group for a boardroom presentation of the development proposals.

Councillor John McMillan said: “The members of the delegation were particularly interested in innovation and food and drink.

“Views of the county from QMU were much admired and invitations to return were met with reciprocal invites to Beijing. I hope this will mark the beginnings of further cultural and commercial exchanges.”

Mr Beattie said: “It was an honour to meet with the delegation and to hear about innovation at the campus. The University’s well-deserved reputation has clearly made its mark in China.

“’I was delighted to continue the discussion the next day when the delegation visited the Scottish Parliament.
“’The innovative work of Queen Margaret University in East Lothian will no doubt lead to further global interest and I look forward to seeing future developments and initiatives.’”

Next steps

Delivery of the innovation park and commercial hub is dependent on funding, land procurement and planning issues and the development cannot happen unless the A1 junction at QMU is upgraded. A three way public/private/community partnership approach to the proposed development will be key to its successful delivery. Working closely with East Lothian Council, QMU is now working on a detailed development pathway.

More information

More information on Edinburgh Innovation Park is available at Edinburgh Innovation Park The website features detailed site plans and places the innovation park in context, including details of the associated commercial hub which will provide retail and leisure facilities for the local community, innovation park users, and QMU students and staff.

Get in touch at Edinburgh Innovation Park