11/21/2014 12:00:00 AM News

Argyll’s world-class centre for marine science formally opened

Malin House Opening

Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, will cut the ribbon at the European Marine Science Park (EMSP) at Dunstaffnage, near Oban. EMSP was developed and is owned by economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Mr Ewing will formally open Malin House, the first unit to be completed on the site consisting of 20,000 sq ft of office and laboratory space. He will then visit with the innovative businesses based in the building, Xanthella Ltd and SAMS Research Services Ltd (SRSL) - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing said:

“The European Marine Science Park represents a significant investment by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop a world class facility that will allow businesses to grow in Scotland. The Park reflects the increasing importance of life sciences to the Scottish economy to help further inspire, enhance involvement and innovation within our communities. “

The Scottish Government is committed to providing the necessary support for life sciences to thrive through the work of our enterprise agencies and to create new jobs and maintain the highest quality of business support so that ambitious companies like Xanthella and SRSL can reach their full potential.”

Scotland’s West Coast is a hive of marine-related activity, with aquaculture playing a prominent role in the areas economy, renewable energy projects powering ahead and growth in marine-related life science activity continuing to drive the region forward. A cluster of businesses are already taking advantage of the regions natural resources. EMSP was developed by HIE to assist these and new businesses to take advantage of the growing opportunities.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HIE, said:

“The European Marine Science Park at Dunstaffnage brings together a number of businesses in Argyll and the wider Highlands and Islands which are at the forefront of developments in marine science, marine technology and aquaculture. EMSP is designed to enable new and expanding companies, as well as inward investors, the opportunity to locate to the region and further develop what is already a world-class centre of excellence in marine science.”

Xanthella Ltd and SRSL are already taking advantage of the opportunity to be located at EMSP.

Xanthella Ltd develops photobioreactors (PBR) for use in scalable form for growing microalgae for research and industrial production of high value products such as cosmetics, nutraceuticals and medicines. The company has already achieved international sales to the University of the West Indies of its first PBR products.

SRSL offers a wide range of marine survey and consultancy services, including significant international work. Within its new premises, SRSL has created a technical laboratory to further develop and manufacture the unique SIMBA device. SIMBA, which stands for Sea-ice mass balance buoys, enables real-time monitoring of sea-ice cover in polar environments. Originally developed to support researchers, SIMBA is now being developed for commercial users and applications.

SAMS partnership with Edinburgh-based Mara Seaweed won the ‘Sustained Partnership Award’ at the Interface Excellence Awards 2014 for developing commercially viable tank-based seaweed cultivation systems. Xanthella was shortlisted in the same category for its partnership with University of Strathclyde, producing photobioreactors for growing algae in biofuel production. The awards took place on Thursday 20th Nov at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

SAMS, also based at Dunstaffnage, is an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands, and hosts the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology, which offers incubation space for start-up companies.

Artwork for Malin House has been sourced from local designer Jessica Giannotti who runs Crùbag, Gaelic for crab. Jessica uses her background in Marine Science to combine textile design with science and environmental education. The Malin House designs are a result of collaboration between Jessica and researchers at SAMS.