Internationalisation – Growing Scotland’s footprint in Life Sciences

Driving Scotland’s exports and attracting international companies are key to growing the Life Sciences sector in Scotland

We have a vision for Scotland and a target to increase the turnover of the life sciences sector in Scotland from £4bn to £8bn by 2025. This is ambitious but entirely possible if business, academia and government support our strategy.

We are not doing this from a blank canvas. Scotland has a long and well-established heritage of innovation in the life sciences sector, and has punched above its weight in medical and scientific breakthroughs.

From Joseph Lister and the discovery of antiseptics, John McLeod
Nobel Prize winner for the discovering insulin to John Mallard who developed the MRI body scanner, all these medical advancements together with pioneering work in life sciences such as the world’s first commercial salmon farms and the work of Ian Wilmut who created Dolly, the world’s first cloned sheep, Scotland has continuously progressed scientific discovery from the 18th century onwards.

How to we continue to leverage this great heritage?

Firstly, we need to maximize our global footprint. We need to increase the number of Scottish companies and organisation working overseas and promote Scotland as a location of choice for life sciences, building on existing networks and connections and creating new relationships. We do this by leveraging our existing network of contacts and information within the Scottish life sciences community (industry, academia, and government) to enable and facilitate business development across the sector with overseas organisations, helping to create ‘international’ SMEs.

It is everybody’s responsibility in the sector to promote Scotland as a great hub for life sciences. By actively promoting Scotland we need to ensure we market, support and highlight the success of our companies, research base, health
service innovations and clinical research.

Developing an international mindset is essential to thinking about the bigger picture. In Scotland we need to support our company base to raise their ambition and confidence to exploit international markets and opportunities by sharing valuable in-market experience and international networks.

Working together and having a collaborative approach is essential to the success of the life sciences sector. The Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group are here to promote Scotland on an international platform but each company and organisation based in Scotland is a building block in our vision for long-term sustainable growth. In the end, it’s people who build relationships and form a community and we need everyone to support the industry where they can to make sure we are reaching our international potential.


By Dave Scott, Internationalisation strategy-lead for Life Sciences Scotland

Dave will be speaking at our Life Sciences conference on 21st November. Get your tickets here.