BioCity Scotland Limited is a joint project between BioCity Nottingham and Roslin BioCentre. The new venture was gifted the research facility at Newhouse, in the Central Belt of Scotland in January 2012 by MSD, the global pharmaceutical company. The purpose is to create a base in central Scotland, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, for start-up and growing bioscience, life science and small pharmaceutical companies.
The site will eventually become one of the major life sciences hubs in the UK. It will provide very high quality facilities that are thought to be unavailable to early stage companies elsewhere in Scotland. In addition, BioCity Scotland will work to help create and develop new business opportunities and it will become a centre for events, networks and training. As well as lab-based companies, BioCity Scotland aims to host support companies and organisations such as patent agents, regulatory affairs consultants etc. that contribute to the overall infrastructure supporting early stage businesses.
Drawing on the evidence from BioCity Nottingham’s PR success in creating a national and international profile, BioCity Scotland recognised the need for a major public relations and public affairs campaign from the moment the deal was announced.
Integra Communications, the BioCity Nottingham PR agent, was appointed to ensure continuity of corporate message, sensitivity in campaign planning and execution. Target audiences included the Scottish Government, Scottish life science sector, pharmaceutical investors, potential tenants, plus the local North Lanarkshire community.
The Campaign (December 2011 – December 2012)
- A deal announcement media briefing on site in January 2012. This required embargoed press work, event planning, Ministerial briefing and media handling.
- HRH The Princess Royal visit in February 2012 to officially name the Sir James Building and tour the site. This required liaison with the Palace, media briefing and managing photography.
- An international media delegation visit to the site in March. This was attended and managed by Integra’s Scottish Associate.
- A series of articles and broadcast interviews through January to April, creating a conversation around the building of a new life sciences community at BioCity Scotland.
- The first BioEntrepreneur Boot Camp Scotland held on 25th – 27th April which drew delegates, speakers, sponsors and guests to the site over the three-day period. Awards to the most promising bio-entrepreneurs allowed for further post-event picture-led coverage.
- Regular monthly news releases covering new tenants, new staff, and new corporate partners.
Future planned events:
School Science Day in June
Annual Lecture in October
Over 135 pieces of media coverage have been recorded in the four months since launch.
Scottish national coverage (regularly in The Herald, The Scotsman, BBC TV, Radio Scotland)
Scottish local media (print and radio)
Scottish business magazines / online
Scottish Government publications / online
UK press including the Financial Times
International press (Wall Street Journal)
International pharmaceutical press
“The PR campaign for BioCity Scotland has created intense interest amongst the scientists we need to influence. Lettings are running well ahead of our expectations and this must be due in large part to the buzz and excitement generated by the events on the site and the associated favourable publicity which money literally could not buy. Thank you to the Integra team, which for a very modest budget even gave us a man on the spot here in Scotland to help us.”
Ian Webster, Director, BioCity Scotland