THE HALO Kilmarnock, which is set to transform the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in the Ayrshire town, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) aimed at creating an enterprise and innovation hub as part of the project.

Businesswoman Marie Macklin, a director of The HALO, and Professor Ehsan Mesbahi of UWS put pen to paper at the university’s Paisley campus.

The HALO is a £65 million mixed-use brownfield regeneration project aiming to create an inspirational and imaginative urban park; a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, lifestyle and leisure quarter; and a light manufacturing facility alongside key worker private rental accommodation.

The development is a collaboration between public, private and the further and higher education sectors. The agreement between UWS and The HALO aims to ensure that an enterprise and innovation hub, including a digital and cyber research facility, is central to it.

They will now investigate how the partnership approach would enable research and development by the university’s students to be commercialised in collaboration with private sector companies.

Macklin said: “We are confident that, working together with UWS, we can create a hub that will provide Ayrshire with a meaningful place in the fourth industrial revolution, the digital world.”