MORE than 1000 new jobs in animal biosciences will be created in the Lothians by the end of the decade, according to a new strategy revealed today.
A new action plan, drawn up by Midlothian Council and Scottish Enterprise, is set to be launched at the new £60 million state-of-the-art research building of the Roslin Institute at Easter Bush.
While any expansion of such work is likely to attract protests from animal rights activists, the work of centres like Roslin – which is famous for creating the first cloned sheep, Dolly, in 1996 – is seen as crucial to the area’s economic development.
Councillor Russell Imrie, cabinet member for strategic services at Midlothian Council, said: “The animal biosciences sector currently employs around 1700 people in Midlothian and if growth continues at an average of five per cent a year, it is projected to create about 1200 new jobs over the next nine years.”
Four main organisations are central to the animal bioscience sector in Midlothian – The Roslin Institute, The Moredun Group, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Scottish Agricultural College.
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, is due to formally launch the new Animal Biosciences Sector Action Plan later this week. He said: “Midlothian is already home to some of the world’s top animal bioscience research organisations, which have helped Midlothian to develop a worldwide reputation in the field and to become one of the most important locations for animal biosciences in Europe.
“But there is considerable potential for Midlothian – and Scotland – to build and expand upon existing strengths in this area.”
He added: “Two of the most important global market- drivers of future activity in animal biosciences are the convergence of human and animal health research and development, and the impact of population growth – particularly in China – on global demand for food, in the context of a changing climate and the aim to reduce climate-changing emissions in livestock and agriculture.”