BUSINESSES and entrepreneurs are being sought to take up residence in a multi-million pound innovation centre creating new links between science and industry in rural Scotland.

Set to open in Inverness later this year, the Rural and Veterinary Innovation Centre (RAVIC) will develop new technologies and systems for the country’s land and marine-based sectors, including the green and blue economies of agriculture and aquaculture.

The £12.5 million project is being led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), whose existing Centre for Epidemiology and Planetary Health will provide a core function. It has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Scottish Funding Council and SRUC.

RAVIC will bring together scientists, innovators and businesses to create new products, services and solutions to overcome sector challenges, including those posed by animal disease, climate change and food security.

There will also be an emphasis on bioscience, including animal health, as RAVIC is to form part of Scotland’s new School of Veterinary Medicine.

As climate change continues to accelerate, the farming sector will be faced with rapidly changing animal diseases and uncertain markets and RAVIC is expected to provide much-needed research infrastructure to support new innovative systems and other practical tools to help Scottish farmers and land managers meet climate change targets.

Its director, Professor George Gunn, said: “The Highland innovation centre will help short circuit the gap that exists between science and business to unlock the true potential of Scotland’s blue and green economies to create high-value jobs. The development reinforces SRUC’s commitment to expanding its regional presence in the area and it will also be an important addition to the existing range of expertise already on Inverness Campus.”