Officials from China Communist Party general office learn about plans for Edinburgh Innovation Park
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.
Welcoming the group last week, QMU Principal Professor Petra Wend thanked the delegates for their interest in the university’s plans for an innovation park on the land adjacent to the campus, before leading a tour of the university building showcasing the innovative sustainable construction methods that have earned QMU recognition for having the greenest campus in the UK since it opened in 2007.
The delegation also visited QMU’s Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre (CASL) which, through a spin out company, invents, designs and supports the development of instrumental technologies which help improve diagnosis and treat speech disorders in children and adults.
The innovation park was the main focus of interest for the visitors, who were joined at a boardroom presentation of the plans by Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, East Lothian housing spokesman Councillor Norman Hampshire and Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh.
"Professor Wend said: “It was a privilege to host the delegation and to have the chance to explain our philosophy and passion for innovation which centres on improving quality of life and wellbeing. After the formal presentation we enjoyed a long discussion about our plans for the innovation park and our visitors were pleased to have the chance to meet our local politicians."
“Collaboration is central to innovation and we could not do this on our own. We are already working with others and keen to collaborate with local, national and international partners throughout all stages of delivering the development.”
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.
The initial buildings proposed on site are a National Food Enterprise Centre and a National Technical Enterprise Centre. Phase One will develop the National Food
Enterprise Centre that will create a series of specialist multi-occupied facilities delivering a raft of services and expertise to SMEs in the Food and Drink Sector. This includes the creation of specialist food laboratories and food testing facilities linked to the expertise existing within the University.
“One of the driving forces behind the innovation park is to create a sustainable and vibrant community where people will live, work and also relax,” said Professor Wend.
“The park will be people centred and, like our campus, it will meet the highest standards of sustainability in construction.”
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism said: “I was very happy to welcome the delegation and explain our leading role in partnering with QMU to bring new opportunities to East Lothian in line with our ambitious economic development strategy.
“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.”
Notes to Editor
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