Seizing the opportunity: Scotland’s chance to become world leading in life sciences

Building on the success of the sector, we announced earlier in 2017 our renewed strategy for life sciences in Scotland. Our ‘2025 Vision’ aims to grow the industrial turnover of the life sciences sector to £8bn a year, which is an ambitious but achievable target that can be met through the creation of a dynamic and competitive environment with a robust business base, capable of attracting key skills, talent and investment.

Scotland is already a leading location for life sciences because of its collaboration between academia, the NHS and commercial companies. In recent years Scotland has seen many positive developments in the sector including the creation of six innovation centres aimed at connecting academia with commercial companies to turn world-leading research into commercial success.

We recognise there are serious global challenges that we need to respond to such as an ageing population, the proliferation of chronic diseases and the increasing cost and pressures on healthcare providers, and these are now some of the biggest challenges for the sector.

There is a range of new opportunities for the life sciences industry to focus on. A shift towards digital technologies will easy the burden on healthcare provision if patients can be monitored with wearable tech at home, easing up pressures on hospital beds.  Advances in genomics and big data are enabling medical professionals to make more accurate diagnosis and this is making a future for precision medicine possible. Developments in high value manufacturing including, continuous manufacturing techniques, are driving down the cost of manufacturing and producing less wastage. Innovations in the bioeconomy are addressing environmental and food security concerns through industrial biotechnology, agritech and animal health. As a sector, there is so much work taking place to improve the lives of people around the world.

To help us achieve our goals, we have put in place four strategic themes and priorities to enable this, namely:

Innovation and Commercialisation
Sustainable Production
Business Environment

Collectively, these themes will form the framework to accelerate the growth and success of the sector.

Enhanced collaboration between business, academia and the NHS will be a major link in delivering success in innovation and commercialisation. Providing the conditions to nurture our entrepreneurial talent and allow them to develop will be critical in pushing this area of the strategy forward. Maximizing our global footprint and developing an international mindset will enable increased internationalisation in the sector. Helping start-ups and SMEs to scale up quickly and efficiently will boost the economy and create more jobs in the sector. We have a strong base of talented and inventive people working in the life sciences industry in Scotland and we want to attract more talent into the sector.

The life sciences sector in Scotland has the opportunity to grow, capitalising on the success so far, there is so much potential to accelerate and drive forward the industry with positive outcomes for the Scottish economy as a whole.


By Dave Tudor, Chair of the Industry Leadership Group for Life Sciences Scotland

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