Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Science centre to be gene-shaped

Easter Bush (Artist's impression)
Work on a 58m state-of-the-art research centre at Easter Bush starts

Work on a 58m state-of-the-art research centre which will accommodate 500 scientists has started in Midlothian.

The landmark centre at Easter Bush, near Penicuik, will be shaped to resemble a pair of chromosomes.

The building will have coloured panels representing the DNA "fins" to link the office and research laboratory blocks.

The building is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Experts from the Scottish Agriculture College working in areas such as genetics, developmental biology, immunology and infectious diseases, neuroscience and behaviour and animal sciences will be brought together under one roof.

This is a marvellous development for Penicuik and the wider Midlothian economy which could truly have world-wide significance in the longer term
Russell Imrie
Midlothian Council

Professor David Hume, director of The Roslin Institute, said: "The new building will provide state of the art facilities in which we can undertake research that will strengthen Scotland's international reputation as a world leader in animal biosciences and will make a major contribution to Scotland's knowledge economy.

"It will also provide a focal point for the Easter Bush Research Consortium, bringing together scientists from The Roslin Institute, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the Scottish Agricultural College and the Moredun Research Institute, with a view to fostering new ideas and streamlining research on animal diseases and its implications for human health."

Russell Imrie, Midlothian Council cabinet member for strategic services and chairman of the planning committee, said the project was a "marvellous development for Penicuik and the wider Midlothian economy".

Warm welcome

He added: "Our economic objective is to create up to 10,000 new jobs over the next 12 years and the new research building is very much part of our '2020 vision' for enhancing employment and quality-of-life opportunities for the growing Midlothian population."

The new building, which is due for completion in 2011, forms part of the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush redevelopment project and will be based opposite a new vet school teaching building and the Hospital for Small Animals.

The design of The Roslin Institute building has been warmly welcomed by Architecture Design Scotland (ADS), an organisation set up to inspire better quality of building design.

Marc Edmondson, of the building's architects CUH2A, said: "We are aiming to create a landmark building worthy of the world-wide reputation of The Roslin Institute and are delighted that it has already received such positive recognition."

As well as laboratories and office space, the building incorporates breakout areas and meeting areas to encourage collaboration on scientific research.

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