Connect to World Leading Research

Scotland is constantly evolving to meet the future needs of the sector through strategic collaborations between industry and a range of academic institutions; our universities continue to generate highly-skilled graduates and PhDs and our colleges train technicians and modern apprentices.

Scotland ranks worldwide among the top three for research productivity and impact, with 19 universities and higher education institutions, and world-leading research centres attracting some of the brightest international scientists. 

The research talent is connected to industry via Scotland’s excellence and innovation centres that catalyse collaborations between industry and academia. These interactions support business performance through the rapid and efficient translation of solutions to industrial and scientific challenges.  Furthermore, the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) proactively seeks opportunities for collaborations and translational research through strengthening connectivity across academic disciplines and industry and maximising access to Scotland’s cutting-edge research facilities.


Health Informatics

In response to the continuing move towards a personalised and data-driven healthcare environment, Scotland provides one of the most highly developed health informatics systems in the world with a long tradition of using linked health service data for research including:

  • Evaluating interventions to deliver patient benefit
  • Measuring long-term outcomes in clinical trials
  • Assessing the safety of new medical interventions
  • Supporting understanding of patterns of health and illness across the whole population

This is because Scotland is home to a stable population which generates some of the best longitudinal health data in the world.  As a result of this national resource, academics and industry in Scotland have developed an informatics capability that exploits electronic patient records, linkable through a unique NHS patient identifier.  This enables data-driven clinical trials, precision medicine and genetic studies. 

A Health and Biomedical Informatics Research Strategy for Scotland further enhances research capability in health informatics for patient and public benefit, recognising the importance of stratified medicine, advances in information technology and the increasing complexity of the molecular understanding and treatment of disease.


Clinical Research

Strong infrastructure and world-class clinical and academic expertise create a vibrant research environment in Scotland with clinical research embedded within our NHS.

As a location for research and clinical trials, Scotland is associated with a number of unique features that enable the set-up, management and analysis of clinical trials to be particularly efficient including: 

  • A single unified health system – NHSScotland
  • A stable population of c.5million with a high incidence of complex disease
  • Nationwide clinical research infrastructure provide industry and researchers with access to state-of-the-art facilities to conduct clinical trials.

NHS Research Scotland simplifies access to Scotland’s world-class research infrastructure and provides a single point of contact for industry.  As a partnership of Scottish NHS Boards and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of Scottish Government, we ensure NHSScotland provides the best environment to support research and contributes towards a thriving life sciences sector. Further to these strengths, a strong ethos of partnership working between NHS, Academia and Industry continually enhances research, clinical and commercial opportunities in Scotland and together we work to ensure that Scotland remains an excellent single research site and helps address the challenges of chronic disease. 


Industry-led Research 

The research talent in Scotland is connected to industry through innovation centres that catalyse collaborations between industry and academia.  The innovation centres that support life sciences companies in Scotland include:

  • Precision Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre which connects industry to Scotland’s expertise, data assets and delivery infrastructure to enable the development of new products and accelerate the real world adoption of Precision Medicine.
  • The Digital Health & Care Institute supports collaboration to co-design person-centred digital health and care solutions
  • iCAIRD the Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics which connects AI solutions with health and care priorities in NHSScotland
  • The CENSIS Innovation Centre for sensing, imaging and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies which accelerates innovation and supports product development
  • The DataLab, Scotland’s innovation centre for Data and Artificial Intelligence
  • The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, IBioIC which connects industry, academia and government to bring biotechnology processes and products to the global market.