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£30M of BBSRC investment in new home for The Roslin Institute

29 June 2011

Yesterday saw £30M of BBSRC investment in new research infrastructure come to fruition, as The Roslin Institute took up residence in its new purpose built centre on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

  The Roslin Institute

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The Roslin Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, will join partners from the Scottish Agricultural College in the new centre which will deliver excellent science in the fields of food security and basic bioscience underpinning health, driving economic growth and providing benefits for UK society. The Roslin Institute receives around £10M a year from BBSRC in strategic funding.

A total of 500 scientists will work in the new building. They will conduct research aimed at improving the health and welfare of livestock animals and the sustainability of the livestock sector. The Roslin Institute has a key role in supporting BBSRC's mission, particularly in the strategic areas of food security and fundamental bioscience underpinning health.

Expertise covers areas such as immunology and infectious disease, clinical sciences, genetics and genomics, developmental biology and diseases affecting the nervous system.

Scientists at the institute also place a strong emphasis on comparative medicine where research can be applied to improve both animal and human health.

Professor David Hume, the Director of The Roslin Institute said: "The new building is designed to maximise cooperation amongst our experts. Our new home will help us tackle complex problems ranging from fertility and reproduction through the threats of diseases such as avian flu and tuberculosis to animal welfare and greenhouse gas emissions. We now have an iconic building that is instantly recognisable."

The new building was officially opened yesterday (Wednesday, 29th June) by the First Minister of Scotland, chief executives of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Scottish Agricultural College and the Principal of the University of Edinburgh.

The design of The Roslin Institute was inspired by the shape of a pair of chromosomes, with a rainbow progression of coloured panels that link offices with research laboratories.

The three-storey building covers 14,000 square metres. Open-plan working spaces, with break-out areas, are designed to encourage collaboration between scientists from different disciplines. The building also contains an auditorium and meeting facilities.

The Roslin Institute building on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Credit: Norrie Russell, The Roslin Insitute, University of Edinburgh

The Roslin Institute building on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
Credit: Norrie Russell, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister said: "Scottish science has an international reputation for quality, and the ground-breaking work of The Roslin Institute is already famous worldwide. This new home here at the University's Easter Bush campus gives an opportunity for further advances."

The Institute, sited at the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush Campus, replaces the former home of The Roslin Institute, where Dolly the Sheep was cloned, in the nearby village of Roslin.

It has received an award from Architecture Scotland and has been nominated for a number of additional building and design awards.

Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive of the BBSRC, said: "Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive of the BBSRC, said: "This new building, constructed with significant support from BBSRC, will house world-class science that tackles some of the most important challenges we face. These high-quality facilities will enable scientists to do research that supports and enhances human and animal health, food security, and social and economic well being in the UK and beyond."

The Roslin Institute, which is incorporated with the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, currently has more than 100 PhD students and plays a critical role in training researchers for many areas of the UK's livestock sector.

Professor Bill McKelvey, Chief Executive of SAC , said: "This builds on a long track record of cooperation and collaboration between SAC, The Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh and opens up opportunities for even greater things to come. The kinds of research that are needed to address today's 'Grand Challenges' span the range from new fundamental understanding of biology to practical innovation. That is what is so appealing about the combination of scientists from SAC and the University cheek by jowl in the same building."

Prof McKelvey gratefully acknowledged the financial assistance of the Scottish Government Rural and Environmental Science Directorate in supporting SAC's investment.

The new building forms part of a £100M development at the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush campus, which includes a new teaching building for the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

The Roslin Institute, which has doubled in size since 2007, has attracted more than £24.2M in research funding last year, supporting 1,179 jobs.


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Tara Womersley, Press and PR office, tel: 0131 650 9836, mobile: 07791 355804, email:

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

About the Roslin Institute

The Roslin Institute ( is incorporated with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the world leading Veterinary School in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, at the University of Edinburgh. The Institute undertakes research within the framework of BBSRC Institute Strategic Programmes focussed on the health and welfare of animals, and applications of basic animal sciences in human and veterinary medicine, the livestock industry and food security.

About the SAC

SAC (The Scottish Agricultural College) is an innovative, knowledge-based organisation, supporting the development of land-based industries and communities through their:

  • Specialist research and development resources
  • Education and training provision
  • Expert advisory and consultancy services

The SAC work is wide ranging but there is a particular emphasis on agriculture and related sciences, rural business development and management, food chain quality and safety, and rural resource and environmental management.


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences and the largest single public funder of agriculture and food-related research.

Sponsored by Government, BBSRC’s budget for 2011-12 is around £445M which it is investing in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.