Animal Health, Agritech & Aquaculture
Scotland’s subsectors of Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture (AAA) are at the heart of the green and circular economies for growth in Scotland. These established industries and the world-leading research associated with them make Scotland’s vast AAA community well positioned to make better use and impact of land, be front and centre in the forensics of food and lead discoveries of vaccines and therapeutics for zoonotic diseases.
The optimisation of animal health, promotion of sustainable food security and stimulation of economic growth, both locally and internationally, make a major contribution towards the ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions from UK agriculture by 2040, underlying the urgent need to work collaboratively to address the challenges of climate change.
With businesses from SMEs to large companies and strong academic centres located in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Oban, the AAA sector is a significant part of the Life Sciences in Scotland and is maturing fast. The AAA subsectors have overlapping interests and established working relationships with a range of other key Scottish sectors including Chemicals, Food and Drink and Technology.
World Leading Animal Health Science
Scotland is already a major contributor in the animal science sector globally. Nestled amongst a clutch of some of the world’s oldest universities are two of the world’s Top 10 schools, with Edinburgh reaching #3 and Glasgow achieving to #10 (QS World University Rankings for Veterinary Science 2021). Add in further academic, research and development capacity at the Scottish Rural University College (SRUC), the Moredun Research Institute and the Roslin Institute – famous for cloning Dolly the sheep – and you find an ecosystem with the highest density of animal health researchers in Europe.
The agricultural community in Scotland enjoys some of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom; from the dairy lowlands of Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, to the beef & sheep highlands and crofts further north, not forgetting the excellent arable and horticulture land to the east, in Fife. The country is home to a number of research institutes that are famous throughout the world for their work on plant breeding and surveillance of livestock diseases. In recent times, that spirit of innovation has been recognised through significant inward investments in the agritech space, including through the four UK agritech innovation centres and The James Hutton Institute.
Scotland’s Atlantic salmon farming sector is worth over £2bn to the country’s economy, with export sales of nearly £500m making it Scotland’s largest food export. Innovation has helped the sector to strive towards sustainability – from the development of land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) to the deployment of sensors and robotic technologies in sea-tanks – maximising fish health, welfare and productivity whilst finding a balance within the marine environment. The Scottish aquaculture sector is home to: