Talisker Distillery

Why Scotland

Inverness, The Highlands and Islands Thriving Sectors

Inverness is Scotland's northern most city, the traditional capital of the Scottish Highlands. The wider region of the Highlands, including the Orkney and Shetland Isles, the Western Isles, and Argyll and Bute are home to some of Scotland's most incredible landscapes, sea views and dramatic mountain ranges. A region steeped in the romance of uprisings, battles and emigration - tourists flock to the highlands each year to reconnect with old family roots and to feel the spirit of Scotland. But beneath this typical picture of Highland Scotland there lies a region linked by a unique 13 campus University, which boasts considerable natural resources including renewable energy, aquaculture, and oil and gas, and a region with unique expertise in robotics, life sciences and in the very near future a space port for Europe. 

Energy and Renewables

Scotland is home to the largest renewable energy potential in Europe and much of this potential can be realised across the Highlands and Islands. From tidal arrays to offshore wind, the Highlands has a range of sites dedicated to the development of new technologies to harness this potential - including the world's largest tidal turbine array, located in the fast flowing waters of the Pentland First between mainland Scotland and the Orkney Isles. With many ports servicing the North Sea oil and gas fields, and new fields coming online around the Shetland Isles, the region is a key player in the oil and gas industry.

Inverness and the Highlands Energy and Renewables sector:

  • The European Marine Energy Centre located in the Orkney Isles is the only centre of its kind in the world allowing developers of both wave and tidal energy with purpose-built, accredited open-sea testing facilities.
  • The Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides is an island community that runs entirely on renewable source providing a blueprint in energy independence for other small communities around the world.
  • Located 13 miles off the Caithness coast The Beatrice offshore wind farm is the largest in Scotland and the 4th largest in the world and is able to power 450,000 homes.
  • Harnessing some of the fasted moving waters in the British Isles, the Mey Gen tidal array off the north coast of Scotland is a world leading instalment, proving that tidal power is effective, efficient and can contribute significantly to long-term energy sustainability.
  • The Port of Nigg Energy Park is a crucial installation in the manufacture, deployment and maintenance of renewable technology across the North of Scotland.
  • In Argyll and Bute lies Cruachan Power Station, also known as the hollow mountain, an immense feat of engineering and a pioneering hyrdo power station built into a mountain that has been supplying green energy since 1965.
  • Across the Highlands and Island, Community Energy Scotland supports a variety of projects including mini-turbines and hydrogen battery systems, that allow communities to become energy independent from renewable sources.

Life Sciences and Health

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are a sparsely populated area, abundant with natural resources, and with a unique set of health care challenges to overcome. Within this unique setting innovation and science have flourished, supported by a unique 13 campus satellite University that covers the region. Specialisms that tie closely to the nature of the region include a focus on aquaculture and marine science, bio-material research, and healthcare deployment science and technology that allows for a widely spread sparse population to receive the healthcare they need.

The Highlands and Islands Life Science ecosystem:

  • One of the world's oldest dedicated marine research facilities, the Scottish Association for Marine Science study all things marine related, from marine-ecosystems, climate change, ocean landscapes, and working with energy firms to understand how marine life interacts with technology like turbines placed in marine environments.
  • A company based in Oban is taking the discarded shells of shellfish and using them to extract a compound called chitin, which can be made into a plastic replacement substance, that can completely biodegrade! CuanTec
  • Corporate Health International is a Danish Company who have established a new diagnostic centre within the Life Sciences building on Inverness Campus. Their technology deploys remote diagnostic testing, that allows patients to swallow a pill at home that can complete endoscopy procedure without the need travel hundreds of miles to a hospital.
  • Oban based Xanthella designs and manufactures photobioreactors to grow photosynthetic products at both lab and industrial scale. 
  • Managing Information in Medical Emergencies (MIME) Technologies based in Inverness develop remote diagnostic technology that can help first responders treat patients in remote settings where access to a doctor or emergency services can be severely delayed, such as in an airplane, or in remote Scotland.
  • Inverness based Organlike are a team of bio-engineers who 3D print incredibly realistic organ replicas that can be used in a variety of hyper-realistic training situations to enable trainee surgeons to hone their skills in a risk free way.

Aerospace and Engineering

As a region with a huge energy potential the Highlands and Islands has a strong engineering sector to service that demand, including the manufacture, deployment and maintenance of tidal and wind turbines, and engineering solutions for the oil and gas industry. In recent years the Highlands have been identified as an ideal site for a potential European rocket launch site, with wide open spaces in low population areas, still within easy travel of manufacturing hubs in Inverness and central Scotland. Plans have now accelerated for a spaceport in Sutherland and companies are moving north to take advantage.

The Highlands and Islands aerospace and engineering sector includes:

  • Space Hub Sutherland is entering construction soon and will offer space companies a direct route to orbit from Scotland. Did you know Scotland builds more satellites than anywhere else in Europe, and this facility will offer a quick route to launch for these firms.
  • The Space Centre Shetland, offers launch facilities for companies looking to put satellites into Orbit.
  • To deploy satellites into orbit requires rockets, and to complete the Scottish design-to-launch offering a host of companies are developing rocket technology in Scotland to service this demand for small satellite deployment, including Orbex who are based in Moray near Inverness.
  • Located 13 miles off the Caithness coast The Beatrice offshore wind farm is the largest in Scotland and the 4th largest in the world and is able to power 450,000 homes.
  • The Port of Nigg Energy Park is a crucial installation in the manufacture, deployment and maintenance of renewable technology across the North of Scotland.

Food and Drink

The Highland and Islands of Scotland cover a huge geography. From the Orkney and Shetland Isles in the north, the mountains, lochs and glens, and the thousands of Islands of the west coast. In these stunning areas you'll find some of the best ingredients, produce and products Scotland has to offer. Wide open skies, unspoiled scenery, fresh water, clean seas and pure air, the perfect ingredients to make some of Scotland's most distinctive food and drink.

The Highlands and Islands food innovators include: