Securing High-Specification market-leading equipment via flexible finance.


The Roslin Institute


Life Sciences

Through SAF’s long-term partnership with Carl Zeiss, we were introduced to members of The University of Edinburgh’s world-renowned Roslin Institute, to help structure funding for a highly advanced laser scanning microscope.

Client Brief

The Roslin Institute, a pioneering animal biosciences institute that conducts world-class research to improve animal health, develop better means of disease control and advance sustainable agriculture was seeking to procure a high-specification confocal microscope. To secure the order, the client was keen to spread the cost of the investment over 7 years to minimise their cashflow expense and ensure that the cost could be spread across multiple departmental budgets.

The client had worked for several months in tandem with the team at Zeiss to identify the right technical solution for their requirements, Zeiss’ LSM 880 Confocal microscope with Airyscan.

The super-resolution imaging system, especially suitable for dynamic live-cell imaging, would tangibly improve the speed, accuracy and efficiency of a number of the Institute’s research programmes. Once identified, the key to advancing its procurement focused heavily on affordability and a clear repayment structure to avoid a significant capital outlay.

SAF’s Solution:

Working in close collaboration with the procurement team at The Roslin Institute along with the team at Carl Zeiss, SAF created a range of funding options to be assessed. Key to this was finding the right solution for their particular budgeting requirements, considering how the institute’s various long-term research programmes are funded, and which programmes and departments are able to benefit from the instrument’s procurement.

Speed of service is a key tenet of SAF’s offering, however during the phase in which we are seeking to identify the ‘right solution’ for the client, due care and attention is invested into working collaboratively with the various stakeholders involved to ensure their internal approval processes are met.

A 7-year finance term was agreed upon, and from the point at which the client confirmed their intended procurement option, the credit approval, documentation and PO process was completed within a week, securing what was a significant long-term equipment investment for the Institute.


Zeiss’ portfolio of research microscopy solutions is world-renowned for its cutting-edge technology, helping advance UK life sciences and materials research. Technology of this standard requires significant investment, but balancing budgets whilst seeking to improve your technical capabilities can be a challenge for even the largest of enterprises.

For the Roslin Institute, having the ability to engage meaningfully with an experienced equipment finance provider who has both a clear understanding of the challenges within the UK Life Sciences sector and a thorough knowledge of the asset being procured, was vital to identifying a viable procurement route.

SAF’s finance solution enabled the client to preserve cash, meaning the relative cash burn rate for their research programmes was not heavily impacted by a significant capital outlay. In addition, the finance solution ensured no compromise was made on the technical solution, ensuring the research undertaken remains of the highest possible quality.

The work SAF do is intended to make equipment finance as simple for the client as possible, such is the case, The University of Edinburgh utilised our services to finance equipment required for the University’s Institute for Genetic & Molecular Medicine.

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