The Guide to this year’s national Life Sciences Conference

You know how energising it can be to take time out of the daily firefighting in order look forward for your organisation and yourself?  To be motivated by hearing from people who have succeeded where you aim to succeed, to be inspired by new, practical ideas that will drive the business and to meet those likeminded people with whom you share experiences, tips and advice.  

Well, Scotland’s biggest life sciences conference is coming up so here is your guide to this year’s one-day event and what to expect from all the sessions.  The conference is hosted by The Scotsman and this year will be held at The Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on Tuesday 26th November.  

Who the conference is for

Whilst this is the biggest life sciences conference of the year attracting professionals from across industry, academia and NHS Scotland, this year’s agenda has been built with an emphasis on providing practical advice and case examples that aim to help life sciences organisations accelerate business momentum.  Specifically:

  • Small and medium sized enterprises in Scotland with the ambition to grow the business 
  • Academic researchers and teams with the ambition to commercialise their research or spinout a new business
  • Healthcare professionals with the ambition to maximise the huge untapped data and research opportunities within the NHS
  • Life Sciences professionals looking to make new connections with life minded people within the sector

The agenda will provide the high-level context that will demonstrate just how exciting it is to be starting or growing a life sciences organisation in Scotland as well as the practical sessions that will add value to you and your team.

With new strategies and initiatives being developed to drive the momentum of some of the key subsectors, there will also be additional networking and parallel sessions for people working specifically in MedTech, Animal Health, Aquaculture and Agritech (AAA), Precision Medicine and Advanced Manufacturing.

Innovation, Momentum, Ambition

With a running theme of the level of ambition for the sector, the day is divided into three key parts with quality networking time throughout.  

    1. Keynote presentations: this is where you’ll hear the biggest opportunities for Life Sciences in Scotland. You’ll hear the national perspective from Dave Tudor and Ivan McKee MSP of The Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group and Andrew Fowlie from NHS Scotland as well as the global perspective from Ernst & Young.  
    2. SME Innovation Showcase: this session provides an opportunity for start-ups, spinouts and small life science businesses across Scotland to present their innovation and the momentum they have achieved so far.  The session will demonstrate the range of innovation in Scotland and put faces to company names to facilitate networking sessions (more detail below).
    3. Momentum Sessions: half the day is dedicated to providing insight, best practice and case examples on a range of topics that will drive momentum for life sciences organisations.  Delegates will get to choose the three sessions most relevant to them from a total of eight on offer.

What to Expect from the Sessions

The afternoon Business Momentum sessions have been put together in direct response to feedback from the life sciences community and will provide delegates with new insight and practical guidance on a range of key drivers of success.  The sessions are one hour in duration, and delegates can choose the three sessions most relevant to their situation. Each session will provide a combination of insight and practical guidance from two or three experts and case examples from the field.

Funding Innovation

  • Insight into the latest funding for life sciences enterprises from InnovateUK with an emphasis on the Industry Strategy Challenge Funds
  • A case example from a small life science business on the role winning a funding competition can have on generating momentum for the business and opening doors for investment along with tips for success
  • Guidance on how to maximise the R&D tax credit and Patent in a Box opportunities from experts at Leyton

Increasing your presence in the market

  • Best practice in using online marketing in life sciences to increase presence in the market and accelerate sales performance from Alix Mackay of The Life Science Marketing Academy
  • A case example from a small Scottish life science business that demonstrates how the use of low to zero budget online tactics can attract more visitors to the company website, generate leads for the BD team and enable the company website to rank on page one of Google 
  • Guidance and expertise on engaging with the press and the role of PR agencies to increase presence in the sector from former BBC journalist and GSK’s UK Corporate Communications Lead, John McGill

Nurturing the Talent Pool

  • Insight into the biggest opportunities for staff professional development based on findings from Skills Development Scotland’s skills gaps analysis in life sciences
  • A case example of the role of work-placed learning in the form of apprenticeships in attracting high-potential employees and nurturing talent within the business

Healthcare Innovation and Adoption

  • A case example from Aberdeen’s Prof Alison Murry of realising the potential of the Data Safe Havens and working in collaboration across industry, academia, government and the NHS to identify and solve a healthcare challenge
  • Insight and guidance from the Scottish Health Technology Group’s Ed Clifton and Medtronic Director, Mark Cook, on the factors critical to NHS adoption including support from the SHTG for evaluating new healthcare innovations
  • Advice and guidance from legal expert in the life sciences sector, Carina Healy of CMS, on setting up successful collaborations across multiple parties

Elevating the business with Digital & Data 

  • Insight and advice from Michelle Woodall and Rob Innes of Wyoming on the role of data capture and management in elevating the business and finding new opportunities to add value in the market
  • Insight from digitalisation experts DTG and Booth Welsh on the role of digitalisation in life sciences business and how SMEs can adapt to ensure they keep up with large clients in the supply chain  

Advanced Therapies in Life Sciences supply and manufacturing

  • With over 150 companies in Scotland involved in the pharmaceutical supply chain, this session will be led by the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre and will explain the key technologies that are being developed at the site as a result of the first two grand challenges and the implications on the sector.  
  • The latest insight into the next round of grand challenges and the opportunities for collaboration this can provide.

The Living Lab

  • The latest insight into plans for a precision medicine focussed Living as part of the development of the QEUH campus 
  • Insight and discussion from a panel of stakeholders about the impact these plans can have on the sector, collaboration opportunities for SMEs, how it will attract inward investment and, ultimately, how it will benefit patients

Expect the Unexpected

Finally, one of the best things about events like this are the small, serendipitous moments that can end up adding great value to your organisation.  The agenda has been designed to be packed with insight so you will leave with things you didn’t previously know (and didn’t know you didn’t know) but also loads of networking time and subsector-specific lunches and workshops to facilitate those accidental conversations and new connections that can often make a real difference to the business.  

The appetite for networking and collaborating in life sciences in Scotland is immense and it’s one of the elements of being located here that organisations value most.  This conference is one of the best opportunities to make the most of this special culture we have in the sector and we cannot wait to see you there. It just won’t be the same without you.

You can buy your ticket here