Marine park boost to science jobs
A European marine science park is to be created in Argyll in a bid to encourage new businesses in Scotland's growing life sciences sector.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is backing phase one of the development, near Oban, with a £7.5m grant.
The park will be built next to the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) laboratories at Dunstaffnage.
Construction on the development, which could support up to 119 jobs, is scheduled to start in October.
The aim is to create a new laboratory and office building capable of hosting three marine science businesses.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will contribute £4.5m of its own grant-in-aid budget from the Scottish government.
It has attracted the remaining £3m from the European Regional Development Fund.
HIE chief executive Alex Paterson, said: "The life sciences sector is a key component of Scotland's economy in the 21st century which can make a significant contribution to the country's recovery from recession.
"SAMS is already renowned internationally both for the quality of its research and its commercialisation activities.
"This investment will enable us to sustain the momentum behind the development of marine science in Argyll and take it to the next level."
According to HIE, the life sciences sector contributed more than £130m to the region's economy in 2008/09 and accounts for about 50 businesses.