About Life Sciences in Scotland

With the total turnover generated by Scottish Life Sciences companies growing from £4.5bn in 2014 to £6.6bn in 2018, employment in the sector steadily increasing to 40,000 people and with almost a quarter of Business Enterprise R&D (BERD) spend within the sector, Scotland is fast becoming one of the world’s most dynamic global clusters for Life Sciences.  More specifically, the group of sub-sectors that make up Scotland’s Life Sciences Growth sector generated a growth in turnover between 2017 and 2018 of 11.7%.

As a result, the Life Sciences sector in Scotland is defined as a priority sector of economic significance by the Scottish Government and is, therefore, fast becoming one of the most effective places to develop innovations and commercial enterprises. The Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group works in partnership with Scottish Government, academia and health professionals to create an ecosystem where scientific endeavour leads to economic growth across the Life Sciences spectrum, producing more companies of scale with international growth potential.


World Class Innovation

Already employing over 40,000 people across 750 organisations, the Life Sciences Industry in Scotland:

  • Produces 70% of media for biomanufacturing in Europe 
  • Is responsible for over 50% of Europe’s biosafety testing 
  • Is home to two out of the six UK British Heart Foundation centres of excellence for cardiovascular research 
  • Hosts two Cancer Research UK research centres looking at developing novel drug targets, novel diagnostic methods using precision oncology and exploring ways to prevent cancer onset
  • Has the largest concentration of animal health and aquaculture researchers in Europe
  • Includes the number one location in Europe for research impact in biomedical and health sciences at Dundee

Find out more about companies providing innovation in specific areas of expertise through the life and chemical sciences directory.


High Growth Potential

The BioCity 2019 Life Sciences Start-Up Report describes a 50% growth in life sciences start-ups created in Scotland between 2014 and 2018 vs the previous with both Edinburgh and Glasgow listed as two of the top five regions for Life Sciences Start-Ups in the UK and among the fastest growing  locations in the UK.  The report also found Scotland to be the location for 15% of the UK’s HealthTech, Pharmatech and Wellbeing companies, 10% of biopharma, therapeutics and vaccines companies and 31% of cleanbio, agritech and industrial biotechnology companies.



The abundance of innovation and life science research in Scotland is made all the more powerful through an inclusive network of physical infrastructure, support organisations and a unique appetite for collaboration that accelerates growth and connects people in industry with:


  A Bespoke Business Ecosystem   |   World Leading Research   |    Scotland’s Healthcare Service  

  Talent   |   Manufacturing Innovation   |   Funding and Investment   |   Healthcare Data and Bioinformatics  




Scottish Government Growth Sector Statistics 

The BioCity Life Sciences Start-Up Reports



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