SRUC, Scotland’s rural college, is investing £2m at Highlands and Islands Enterprises’s Inverness Campus to create the Centre of Excellence for Digital Agriculture and Animal Health, combining its strengths in veterinary disease surveillance, research, education and rural business consultancy.

The centre builds on an existing collaboration between SRUC’s veterinary epidemiology research centre and its farm and rural business consultants. “We’re very excited about this new development in our partnership with HIE,” said SRUC’s academic director Professor Jamie Newbold.

“SRUC has an ambitious regional, national and global strategy to increase its positive impact on rural economies.

“[The] centre will open up huge opportunities and give us the scope to deliver new services. Examples include the harnessing of big data and digital technology for use in research and education and improvements in the responsiveness and impact of the advisory services we offer to local farmers.”

HIE’s Ruaraidh MacNeil, project director of Inverness Campus, said: “We are delighted to be working with SRUC on its plans for expansion at the campus.

“SRUC is already involved in a variety of collaborative projects at Inverness Campus working with other academic institutions, NHS and commercial companies. These plans bring more opportunities to expand this joint working and boost the campus animal health offering.”