QMU at the heart of innovation-led regional transformation

Economic Transformation in our Nation

Universities have a strong culture of delivery which aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. We’ve curated a set of 19 stories to show how universities support people, businesses, industries and Scotland’s regions towards economic transformation.

Uni research and business come together in new Edinburgh Innovation Hub

Researchers, Dr Julien Longchamp and Christine Liddle at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, have developed a novel fat as an alternative to palm shortening, which offers the food industry an ethical, environmentally-friendly and healthier ingredient in many baked goods. The patent-pending innovation will potentially help industry to meet the requirements of nutritional legislation, reducing the fat, sugar and salt content in foodstuffs.

It is this kind of innovative research, with direct application to industry, that will find a home in the new Edinburgh Innovation Hub development, based at the Queen Margaret University campus on the border of Edinburgh and East Lothian.

The Hub will become a vibrant new cluster of innovation, driving regional economic growth. The site, due to open in the middle of 2025 will offer support for innovation-led enterprise and high-growth SMEs. It will offer serviced and fitted commercial laboratory and office space for food & drink and high-growth tech businesses. Companies based at the Edinburgh Innovation Hub will benefit from facilitated access to the University, its social and intellectual capital and to its business support services. Co-location will encourage mentoring and peer support. Close access to business development staff and business support intermediaries will enhance the support on offer, facilitating connections with investors.

Food technology is one of Queen Margaret’s research strengths and the breakthrough by Julien and Christine’s is one of the many food innovations developed in Queen Margaret University’s Scottish Centre for Food Innovation and Development. Their alternative to palm shortening, cuts saturated fat by 88% but matches the taste, texture and other properties of the palm oil derivative currently used in many bakery products. Its use would mean a two-thirds reduction in carbon emissions per kilo compared to palm-based shortening as all ingredients for the new product can be sourced within the UK and Europe.

The Hub is a £40 million flagship development by Queen Margaret University and East Lothian Council. It is supported by £28.6 million from the UK Government, £1.4 million from the Scottish Government and £10 million from East Lothian Council as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Key Points:

National Strategy for Economic Transformation theme: Productive businesses and regions

Institution: Queen Margaret University

Location: Edinburgh

  • The Edinburgh Innovation Hub is a £40 million investment, due to open in 2025.
  • It will be home to research that has direct application to industry, such as that led by Dr Longchamp and Christine Liddle.