The Higgs Centre for Innovation
A new £11 million space technology centre named after renowned University of Edinburgh Professor and Scientist Peter Higgs is to be built in the capital. The announcement was made by Chancellor George Osborne as part of his autumn statement and was timed to coincide with Professor Higgs collecting his Nobel Prize in Physics.
The Higgs Centre for Innovation, which is due to open in 2016, will be built at the city’s Royal Observatory site and operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The centre will focus on developing technologies of the future, including large-scale computer processing, and will house a team of scientists and students as well as 12 small businesses.
Professor Higgs said: "This support from the Treasury and the STFC will create an environment in which future generations of scientists from around the world can share and develop ideas in theoretical physics."
Renewable energy usage at record high in Scotland
The Scottish renewable energy sector recently announced record-breaking results. UK government figures revealed that renewable energy usage figures were at 40.3% in 2012, which had almost doubled since 2010. The Scottish Government is currently aiming to have half of the country's electricity usage come from renewables by 2015. With these encouraging results, the Scottish Government is confident that it can achieve this. The longer-term goal is to have the renewables sector generate 100% of the country’s electricity by 2020.
Edinburgh enjoys economic boom
2013 was reported as a good financial year for Edinburgh and experts have forecast that 2014 will be even better. Trade is currently up, with record tourist numbers visiting the capital and spending their hard-earned cash in Edinburgh’s hotels and restaurants. And with 92% of tourists rating their visit to Edinburgh eight or more out of 10, the economic boom the city is experiencing looks set to continue. John Donnelly, Chief Executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: "Our ongoing ambition is to continue to widen our appeal as a unique, year-round destination."
Edinburgh also welcomed a new addition to its hotel scene. After an area of the Cowgate and South Bridge fell victim to a devastating fire, a selection of shops, buildings and an Ibis Hotel have filled the void. The budget hotel - the chain's second in Edinburgh - brings a further 259 rooms to the city.
Edinburgh has recently undergone many major developments of its transport system. Plans were recently announced to fit all buses and the new tram system across the capital with free WiFi for passengers. Lothian Buses is currently seeking funding for this initiative through the Connected Capital Programme, which is led by the City of Edinburgh Council and is part of the Government’s Super Connected Cities Programme. Chief Executive of Lothian Buses, Ian Craig, said:
"The introduction of passenger Wi-Fi on all of Edinburgh’s buses and trams would be great for our passengers and help the city to become a truly connected capital. We keep innovating for the benefit of our passengers and recently launched our official Lothian Buses app so passengers can plan their journeys more easily and purchase mobile tickets. Creating a free Wi-Fi network on our newly integrated bus and tram fleet is a logical next step and we're confident that we’ll be able to put together a very strong case for UK Government approval." If the bid is successful, the free Wi-Fi will be rolled out at the end of the year.
Improvements to Edinburgh's transport system don’t stop there. Haymarket Station's new main building and concourse were officially opened late last year following a £25 million redevelopment. Transport Minister Keith Brown unveiled Network Rail's new station building, which has more shops and a public space 10 times larger than before. The station also now benefits from a wider footbridge with lifts and escalators, direct access to the tramline outside the station and large departure boards. Mr Brown commented: "Network Rail and ScotRail have worked extremely well together to deliver this transformation of one of our most iconic stations on time and on budget."
Tickets for Venue 150@EICC on sale now
Edinburgh’s renowned Festival Fringe might seem far away now, but with tickets having gone on sale to the public before Christmas, now is the ideal time to plan your schedule of must-see shows before they sell out.
Venue 150@EICC will stage some of the Fringe's biggest shows with talents like Jimeoin and Daniel Sloss. The impressive venue is always a hotspot during the Fringe, when it transforms into one of the city's top entertainment spaces. The Venue 150@EICC website is currently undergoing a facelift, so keep your eyes peeled for a range of new features coming soon.
EICC delivers record economic impact
The EICC has contributed a record £50.4million back to the city of Edinburgh. Its recent economic impact report reveals this exceptional figure was even more impressive than the £35.6million generated in 2012. EICC Chairman, Cllr Gordon Munro, says: "In 2013, EICC's new Lennox Suite expansion opened its doors and it is encouraging to see such an early payback to the city from this investment. Businesses that accommodate transport and entertain visitors to Edinburgh will share my appreciation of the outstanding work of Chief Executive, Hans H Rissmann and his team in bringing the new space to market on time and with a growing order book."