photo credit – Neil Hanna

Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, has opened a science building designed to help researchers address some of the world’s most pressing health concerns.

Rheumatoid arthritis, lung cancer and women’s health issues are just some of the medical conditions being tackled by more than 500 scientists at the £110m facility at Edinburgh BioQuarter.

The new building – known as the Institute for Regenerative Repair (IRR) South – will be home to flagship centres carrying out research in inflammation, reproductive health and regenerative medicine, as well as a dedicated pandemic science hub.

Experts at the Institute believe that close proximity to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh hospital will allow for better shared learning between molecular and cell scientists and clinical researchers.

At the opening event, the Chancellor met with students and staff, including Centre for Reproductive Health scientists who gave an overview of their inspiring work on fertility preservation after cancer, and efforts to tackle heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain caused by endometriosis.

Teams from the Centre for Inflammation Research outlined their research on shared biological processes behind conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and chronic lung disease.

The Chancellor and guests at the event also heard from Centre for Regenerative Medicine scientists who showcased their key work on stem cells and how the body repairs cell damage from ageing and injury.

The Princess Royal toured the IRR’s extensive open plan laboratories, including the innovative Chemistry Hub, designed to speed-up ‘chemistry to medicine’ research that translates laboratory findings to drug treatments more quickly.

photo credit – Stantec

The event highlighted the Institute’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of scientists and its important work with the local community, including a long-standing partnership with Castlebrae Community High School.

Castlebrae students took the opportunity to show a one-off wooden table that was designed and crafted by pupils, and takes pride of place in the new building’s boardroom.

The Chancellor closed the event by unveiling a dedicated plaque to commemorate the building’s opening.

Funding for IRR South – which was designed by global integrated design firm Stantec and built over six years by Balfour Beatty – came from the Medical Research Council, UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) and substantial philanthropy from foundations, companies and private donors.

Professor Stuart Forbes, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Regeneration and Repair said,

“IRR South is designed to allow modern science to flourish by fostering collaboration across different disciplines, and providing space for cutting edge research technologies. This new facility will encourage joined-up working and help scientists develop treatments to benefit health more rapidly.”

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh said:

“Many people – colleagues past and present across the University plus external supporters including generous philanthropists – have made the Institute for Regeneration and Repair possible.  I very much look forward to seeing the advances in medicine and impact that the students and staff in the Institute will make.”

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