Competition: Life Science Innovation Centre, Inverness

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is recruiting an architect to design a £7.5 million Life Science Innovation Centre in Inverness

The team selected for the estimated £250,000 contract will design and deliver a 2,700m² complex to provide accommodation for both HIE and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). It will feature offices, laboratories and an innovation space.

The building will be constructed on Plot 15 of the development agency’s Inverness Campus, which was masterplanned by 7N Architects to provide a new regional centre for innovation and life-long learning with up to 1,300 jobs. Threesixty Architecture was selected for a £5 million building on the suburban 87ha site next to the busy A9 road three years ago.

According to the brief: ‘The University of the Highlands and Islands and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are planning to develop a joint building on the Inverness Campus. The current proposals equate to a maximum built GIFA of circa 2,700m² with UHI requiring 1,500m² and HIE requiring 1,200m². Associated parking provision, service areas and external storage facilities will be required, and the development should take account of key frontage, access and presence from the main campus road.

‘The Life Sciences Innovation Centre will create a connected and integrated health research and innovation facility for the university linked to an incubation facility owned by HIE. The facility will be in close proximity to the Elective Care Centre on plots 3, 4 and 5 and will require the realisation of specific health innovation outputs such as supported and created companies in life sciences/healthcare service improvement / new healthcare products and services, to be eligible for external funding.’

The Inverness Campus is a new development zone located on the fringes of the Scottish Highlands capital. It is intended as an incubator for emerging life sciences technologies and will feature a mix of academic, business, research, community and sports facilities.

Landmark buildings already completed on the campus include BDP’s £50 million home for Inverness College, which opened in 2015, and an 84m-span bridge by 7N. A £2.2 million life sciences building on the site by Threesixty Architecture won a British Council of Offices in 2016.

Applicants for the latest commission must hold £10 million worth of employer’s liability insurance, £10 million of public liability insurance, and £5 million worth of professional indemnity insurance cover. Bids will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost.