Networking & Coordination

As Scotland expands its capabilities in Advanced (cell and gene) therapies and vaccines, it becomes more important for activity to be connected and coordinated, knowledge to be shared and profile to be raised both nationally and internationally. Examples are given below of the leadership, influence and representation demonstrated by Scottish scientists ensuring optimal collaboration and partnerships across academic, clinical and commercial landscapes.


Through developing and implementing the Advanced Therapies & Vaccines Growth Plan for Scotland, a framework has been created to help connect and coordinate activities and provide advocacy, governance and support mechanisms through the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group as well as public sector bodies such as Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

With the supply chain mapped out and an academic/translational pipeline in place, the creation of a formal Scottish network is proposed to build on existing regional networking activities (e.g. Gene Therapy in Edinburgh) and to provide a more formal link with other networks in the UK.


Glasgow and Edinburgh are part of the Northern Alliance – one of the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres (ATTC) network. This programme, a world-first, is a UK system of ATTCs operating within the NHS framework and coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) to address the unique and complex challenges of bringing pioneering advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) to patients. The ATTCs are working together with industry partners and the public sector to develop the necessary processes, skilled staff and infrastructure at scale as more treatments move from clinical trial to marketed products.

Scotland is also part of the new CGT Catapult-funded Advanced Therapies Skills & Training Network (ATSTN) – more details of which can be seen on the Skills & Training page.

The Advanced Therapies Network (ATN) aims to support networking opportunities and knowledge exchange between academic organisations, life sciences companies and investors in this area. The Advanced Therapies Network was launched in November 2018 – part of London Advanced Therapies and funded by the Research England, it brings together collective expertise in this area to accelerate the progression for patient benefit.
Scotland will be working increasingly closely with the London ATN and the newly formed Northern ATN (convened by the Northern Health Science Alliance) to deliver joint events and provide opportunities for greater interaction and knowledge sharing across the UK.

The UK Vaccine Network brings together industry, academia and relevant funding bodies to make targeted investments in specific vaccines and vaccine technology for infectious diseases with the potential to cause an epidemic. The focus of the Network is to support the government to identify and shortlist targeted investment opportunities for the most promising vaccines and vaccine technologies that will help combat infectious diseases with epidemic potential, and to address structural issues related to the UK’s broader vaccine infrastructure. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Vaccines Taskforce was set up to drive forward the development and production of a coronavirus vaccine as quickly as possible. This involved contributions from companies across the UK including Scottish-based Valneva, Merck BioReliance, Charles River Laboratories, SGS, Symbiosis and Ingenza.


Project teams within the University of Edinburgh lead and coordinate two major European Union Horizon 2020-funded programmes:

Euro Stem Cell

EuroStemCell started in 2004 and helps European citizens make sense of stem cells. The programme provides independent, expert-reviewed information and road-tested educational resources on stem cells and their impact on society. It is a partnership of more than 400 stem cell and regenerative medicine labs across Europe, connected via research centres, consortia, networks and hubs. Scientists, clinicians, ethicists, social scientists and science communicators are all part of the project. The team also work closely with patients, educators, regulators and policy makers to foster engagement and develop material that meets their needs.

Announced in April 2021, a new project EuroGCT: The European Consortium for Communicating Gene and Cell Therapy will develop an online hub to provide accurate information on the use of cells and genetic material to treat disease, along with evidence-based information to counter misinformation surrounding the therapies. The €2m initiative is led by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences and brings together 47 partner organisations and institutions from across Europe. The five-year project will coordinate information from EuroGCT partners to develop a multilingual website that will give patients, healthcare professionals and the public reliable scientific, legal and ethical information related to cell and gene-based therapies. It will also provide the research community, regulatory and healthcare authorities with information on the practical steps required for cell and gene therapy development.

The 2022 Annual Congress for the European Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ESGCT) will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) on October 11th-14th. The event will be co-hosted by the British Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (BSGCT) and presents a great opportunity to showcase academic and commercial projects from Scotland and across the UK.

International Veterinary Vaccini

The IVVN is an international community working together to develop improved vaccines for livestock and zoonotic diseases. Since launching in August 2017, the IVVN has welcomed over 1,300 members from across 85 different countries. Jointly led by the Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh) and the Pirbright Institute, the network’s vision is to ‘establish a multidisciplinary and inter-connected vaccinology research and development community which successfully addresses the challenges impeding vaccine discovery, evaluation and delivery and that will provide impact for control of priority livestock and zoonotic diseases in low-and-middle income countries (LMICs)’.