Edinburgh Local

New Darwin

The University of Edinburgh is undertaking a major new project on The King’s Buildings Campus.

The ‘New Darwin’ project will involve the demolition of the existing Darwin Tower, to be replaced by a new research, teaching, and innovation building that is fit for the world-leading research and teaching delivered by the School of Biological Sciences.


As of March 2024, the University is beginning the public planning consent process for this project, with a Certificate of Lawfulness for the proposed demolition of the Darwin Tower now approved (ref. 24/01187/CLP).

A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has also been submitted (Ref. No: 24/01183/PAN) for the forthcoming planning application for the construction of a new Biological Sciences research and teaching building on the same site, commencing the 12-week pre-application consultation (PAC) process.


The Project

The new building will create a next-generation bioscience hub to support the University’s vision for Interdisciplinary Biology. It will aid translation of ground-breaking discovery science into solutions to address global challenges, for example mitigating climate change, food security through sustainable agriculture and healthy ageing.


Central to the Darwin Building is a series of cutting-edge research laboratories, supported by an innovation environment encompassing incubator space, collaboration areas, and public engagement facilities. This will support early-stage and spin-out companies, industrial collaborations, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. The building will provide state-of-the-art postgraduate teaching laboratories and learning spaces, embedding research-led learning amongst world-class bioscience to equip graduates with interdisciplinary knowledge and industry-ready skills.


The proposed replacement of the Darwin Tower with a building of a reduced height and more appropriate scale, and higher quality design, akin to the adjacent buildings and landscape will offer significant visual and environmental improvement to the campus, city, and surrounding areas.


Finally, the new building will support the University’s net zero ambitions, with the delivery of a more energy efficient building that is net-zero-ready.


In addition to University funding the project is supported by external funders including the UKRI Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), The Darwin Trust of Edinburgh and the Garfield Weston Foundation.


Consultation and Timeline

For the demolition, the University will be seeking a building warrant in March 2024. Deconstruction of the Tower is scheduled to begin in September 2024, with completion by next summer.


For the new building, the PAC process has now begun. Interested parties are invited to attend one of the information sessions where you can view the plans, ask questions of the University and the design team, and have your say:


•             Session 1: Wednesday 27 March 2024, 4-7pm

•             Session 2: Wednesday 8 May 2024, 4-7pm


Location: Elm Lecture Theatre, The Nucleus Building, University of Edinburgh King's Buildings Campus, Thomas Bayes Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3FG.


Following the PAC stage, a planning application will follow.


More details

The best way to hear more about the project is to attend one of the two events above. However, if you have any questions or comments, please contact stuart.tooley@ed.ac.uk.


You can submit a response here. The deadline for this is 10 April 2024.