The Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) plans to relocate its Inverness operation from the premises at Drummondhill, Lochardil to the proposed new Inverness Campus at East Beechwood.
SAC currently employs around 115 staff at thirteen locations throughout the Highlands and Islands with approximately 45 researchers and consultants located at its 7.5 acre site at Lochardil.
The organisation, which provides vital services to the land-based industries and in particular to farmers and crofters across the Highlands, supports HIE’s vision for a multi-stakeholder campus in Inverness.
Professor George Gunn, Head of SAC’s Inverness-based Epidemiology Research Unit, said: “We hope to make a cost-neutral relocation from our current site to a purpose built facility at the Campus to continue our current activities.
“I think it makes a lot of sense to have all research and educational institutions in Inverness in one place. Not only is it in line with government strategy, it’s also conducive to partnership working and the sharing of best practice. I also believe the Campus will help all stakeholders attract the best quality researchers and professionals.
“At the SAC’s Epidemiology Unit we already work with the NHS based epidemiologists. I would hope that in the future we will also partner research colleagues at the Centre for Health Science, where the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Aberdeen and Stirling Universities are already at work.”
Ruaraidh MacNeil, Project Director for Inverness Campus, said: “We’re delighted with SAC’s commitment to Inverness Campus. SAC is one of Scotland’s most progressive institutions, combining its research with services that advance and support land based industries and communities across the country.”
From Inverness SAC’s Farm Business Services team provide bespoke assistance to farmers on subjects including analytical services, environmental design, conservation management, livestock and crop husbandry, building design and marketing consultancy services.
The Veterinary Services team provides laboratory analysis and specialist advice to vets around the Highlands.
Professor Gunn runs a unique multidisciplinary team of applied scientists specialising in supporting the needs of the agriculture livestock sector and advising government policy accordingly. The group has attracted researchers interested in applied veterinary epidemiology from all over the world including Russia, Canada, Australia, USA, Ghana, South Korea and several European countries. The team work to compare methods of controlling the spread of infectious disease in animals and between animals and humans. The team also administers and provides analytical support for the UK’s Pig Health Schemes.
The Scottish Agricultural College intends to start work on designing and building its facility shortly after HIE begins infrastructure works on the site. The Campus received outline planning approval from The Highland Council on Tuesday 25 May 2010.