£74m investment for AgriTech Hub on campus

Tuesday 9th March 2021, 3:00pm

A £74m investment for a new agritech hub will improve the efficiency and output of agricultural applications, and enhance worldwide food security.

Canter outside Roslin Innovation Centre - credit Rosiln Innovation Centre

The virtual hub on Easter Bush Campus aims to develop world-leading research capability in data science and will foster collaboration between researchers and companies to contribute to global food systems, work towards net zero carbon in the agritech sector, and to inform food and environmental policies.

Experts in the hub will use data to develop genetics and health innovations for agricultural science and business, and to build initiatives and novel systems of production, such as robotics. Work in innovative areas, such as data-driven breeding and aquaculture, will enable data generation and analysis that will improve the agriculture industry worldwide.

The agritech hub will be nucleated at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ Easter Bush Campus – Europe’s largest concentration of animal science research expertise – where the Roslin Institute is located, with reach across the whole University of Edinburgh.

Investment will comprise £27 million from the UK Government, including £1.3 million from the Scottish Government, as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The investment will transform the scale and impact of agricultural technology in outputs from teaching, research and innovation.

It will address skills shortages and gaps in the industry, as well as encourage graduates to set up or join micro-agritech companies.

"This is a very exciting time for agriscience, with transformative technology and data sharing opening up new approaches for fair and inclusive growth. The City Region Deal will drive an innovation pipeline nucleated from Easter Bush campus in Midlothian, with reach both across our country and internationally, all built around novel research, fuelling a step change in upskilling, talent development and enterprise activities."

Professor Bruce Whitelaw, Interim Director, The Roslin Institute

The hub will bring together researchers from the University of Edinburgh and other higher education institutions, along with commercial, public and third sector organisations, in collaboration with project partners Midlothian Council.

Researchers will work with the Scottish and UK public sector, including the Animal and Plant Agency (APHA), Scottish Government’s Animal Health and Welfare Division, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and industry, such as the InnovateUK Agri-Tech Centres.

"We very much welcome this ambitious and innovative new AgriTech Hub in Midlothian, and the City Region Deal investment which has made it possible. Midlothian Council is delighted to be working closely with key partners such as the University of Edinburgh, other educational institutions and the business sector to further support the world-leading facilities, research and technological skills that Easter Bush is renowned for."

Dr Grace Vickers, Chief Executive, Midlothian Council

"The Easter Bush Agritech Hub will be a great boost to Scotland’s world-leading agri-food and drink industries, promoting cutting-edge innovation and sustainability. This new facility will attract new businesses and jobs and help us to build back better for Midlothian communities."

Iain Stewart, UK Government Minister for Scotland

"Acting as a hub for Data Driven Innovation, Easter Bush will ensure that we are well-equipped for a future in which digital skills can help make Scotland a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation."

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity