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Scotland's life sciences facts

Life sciences students, Glasgow University

Life sciences industry in Scotland

Latest stats and facts on Scotland's life sciences industry. Published February 2021.

Industry profile

One of the largest life sciences clusters in Europe, Scotland is home to a range of multinationals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a strong track record of creating and growing startups.

Scotland has comprehensive supply chains and world class manufacturing expertise supplying chemical and healthcare equipment, pharmaceutical services, medicines, vaccines and diagnostics to the world.

The cluster continues its rapid expansion building on a strong industry base, leading universities with a thriving entrepreneurial culture and close collaborations across industry, academia, the National Health Service and government.

Scientists Sarah Farr and Samantha Moreton from the EPP Development Team

Scottish life sciences stats

756 organisations

660 companies and 96 educational/research institutions (2018)

40,000 employment

1.5% of Scotland's total employment (2018)

£2.6bn GVA

1.8% of Scotland's GVA (2018)

£1.2bn exports

3.5% of Scotland's total international exports (2018)

£328m R&D

23.3% of Scotland's BERD (2018)

Company insight

Life sciences organisations surveyed between August and December 2020
Biggest challenges
  • 83% impact of Covid-19
  • 40% accessing finance and investment
Biggest opportunities
  • 60% developing new products/services
  • 17% improving internal business capability
Scientists at work at Aquila Biomedical, BioQuarter Edinburgh.

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