Edinburgh Technopole

(Bush Estate; Edinburgh Centre for Rural Economy)

A science and technology park located within 51 ha (126 acres) of mature parkland on the former Bush Estate, 6 miles (10 km) south of the centre of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Technopole represents a joint venture between the University of Edinburgh and property developer Grosvenor (owned by the Duke of Westminster). The University established the Technopole in 1990 as a base for research and development companies who would benefit from academic collaboration. Grosvenor became involved ten years later.

Centred around Bush House, which dates from c.1750 and now provides 520 sq. m (5,599 sq. feet) of serviced offices as part of the development, the park now offers 9290 sq. m (100,000 sq. feet) of high quality office and lab space with the stated intention of increasing this to 46,452 sq. m (500,000 sq. feet) as demand requires. In addition to Bush House, accommodation is provided in the modern Charles Darwin House, Technopole and Fleming Buildings. The Fleming Building was completed in 2006 and named after Sir Alexander Fleming (1881 - 1955), who discovered penicillin and served as Rector of the University of Edinburgh from 1951-54. Meeting and conference facilities are available for up to 100 people. As of 2009, there were 22 companies and 350 staff located here.

The Bush Estate was bought by the Moubray family in 1722, who drained the land to make it agriculturally productive. In 1746 Jean Moubray married Archibald Trotter, who built Bush House. The estate remained in the hands of the Trotters until World War II, when it was acquired by the University of Edinburgh.

The predecessor to the Technopole was the Edinburgh Centre for Rural Economy (ECRE), created in 1947 on the Bush Estate by Sir Stephen Watson, Professor of Agriculture and Rural Economy, supported by the University of Edinburgh, the East of Scotland College of Agriculture (now Scotland's Rural College), the Agriculture Research Council and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. The ECRE operated until 1989, encouraging a number autonomous research organisations to set up laboratories and field stations on the estate, including the NERC Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (now the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) and the Northern Research Station of the UK Forestry Commission. A significant hub of the Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre was also located at Bush between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, with a mainframe computer running the unique Edinburgh Multi Access System (EMAS) operating system.

Today, the Technopole forms part of the Edinburgh Science Triangle, with the nearby Roslin BioCentre, Pentland Science Park and Edinburgh BioCampus (which includes the Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies). Scotland's Rural College lies immediately to the west. The former walled garden is home to the Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland (SELECT).

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