Without wanting to sound like a bad copy of Adele - Hello, it’s me! I’m Hans Möller, I’m a Swedish guy, 59 years old (or young depending on what time of the day it is), I’m married to Kirsti, we have three wonderful grownup kids and a pet Labrador.
Before I took up the post as Programme Director for Edinburgh BioQuarter, I spent more than 35 years in the ‘High Tech Industry’. 20 years in the IT sector as employee for a couple of American companies, subsequently an entrepreneur and then CEO of Ideon, which is the largest Science Park in Sweden. Ideon is a great place, with more than 500 companies and approximately 8000 employees in total, mainly in the Mobile Technology and Life Sciences sectors. Over the last three years I was responsible for the Innovation Programme in the North East of England, based in Newcastle. For me to be given the opportunity to develop Edinburgh BioQuarter is absolutely fantastic and to do so in the lovely city of Edinburgh, with all of its beautiful surroundings, is even better.
When I started at Ideon in 2003 I decided to write a weekly mail to all of the people based in the park and I continued to do that every week for 12 years, it rapidly became a habit, close to an addiction. This was long before the boom of social media and blogging, so it was a simple mail which people could subscribe to. My promise to you is that as long as I’m in this role, I will post these weekly blogs. I cannot promise that you will agree with everything I write, but that’s ok. The purpose of this is to keep you aware of things directly or indirectly related to Edinburgh BioQuarter, my views of living and working in Edinburgh and Scotland, part of the UK and Europe…still.
Edinburgh BioQuarter, the vision, came to be more than fifteen years ago, not long after the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh had moved from the city centre to, more or less, an empty piece of farm land, just south of Holyrood Park and Craigmillar Castle, called Little France. Little France because of its links to Mary, Queen of Scots, who had based her entourage there when she moved back from France in 1561. Anyway, the big idea with Edinburgh BioQuarter is to create a Health and Science Campus to rival the best, with a mixture of top clinicians and healthcare staff, university researchers and academics alongside entrepreneurs. The University of Edinburgh’s Medical School, research institutes and clinical capabilities make this an incredible place. I’m just not sure people see it yet! As of today there are more than 6,000 skilled people working across Edinburgh’s BioQuarter and in the next five years that will double to 12,000 (remember where you read this first!).
Just last week we celebrated the ground breaking of two new facilities. A £50m Centre for Tissue Repair which will bring another 300 stem cell researchers on site, added to the 300 researchers based in the Centre for Regenerative Medicine, it will make it the highest concentration in Europe and one of the largest in the world. We also have a new Modular Building, of 12 000 square feet, with labs and offices for SMEs, which will create badly needed grow on space for Life Science companies. And on that point, just this week we heard that Aquilla Biomedical, a homegrown start-up, housed in Nine, have been bought over in a multimillion pound deal. This is fantastic news for a small business involved in ground-breaking research in immuno oncology (new ways of tackling cancer using the immune system) and who work directly with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to obtain patient samples for testing. Well done all!
If you add these two projects to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, which will open in 2018, it constitutes a total investment going into the ground of more than £200M. Isn’t this fantastic? And the development doesn’t end with these projects. There are currently plans to build a Centre for Healthcare Informatics for the Usher Institute, a Teaching Centre for the Medical School and a Multi Storey Car Park next to Nine. Click here for a video.
Finally, let me make another promise to you - for whatever it’s worth - in the next five years there will be a hotel built at Edinburgh BioQuarter, with a good restaurant, conference facilities, a pub and a gym. If you want to see what I have in mind then search for, Ideon Gateway on Google.
Most of you won’t know much about me just now, or maybe anything at all, but if you continue to read my blog every week for the next five years then that will change for the better, I hope.
Hopefully catch up with you again next week and until then.
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