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Economic contribution of industrial biotechnology in Scotland


This report discusses the contribution that industrial biotechnology (IB) makes to Scotland’s economy. It aims to: identify a list of companies that utilise industrial biotechnology techniques in their business activities in Scotland; and estimate the total economic contribution that industrial biotechnology makes to Scotland, based on available company and sectoral data.


The methodology consisted of: the identification of IB businesses; the collection of company information data; and the creation of a list of IB companies, using a variety of sources, including previous research commissioned by Scottish Enterprise (SE), foresighting research, the FAME database, the SE CRM database and information from members of the Industrial Biotechnology Development Group (IBDG). There was no direct contact with the individual companies listed in the database.


The report estimates that on an annual basis, industrial biotechnology contributes £61 million to Scottish GVA and supports 1103 full time equivalent jobs. It suggests that these estimates may be an underestimate of the total contribution of IB to the economy. The report finds that for the vast majority of businesses, industrial biotechnology was not the company’s primary business activity, but represented a technique used in their manufacturing or waste management processes.


The report identifies key industries or sectors which require further assessment: within the oil and gas sector, microorganisms are being used in a range of oil remediation technologies; and within the textiles industry, there may be untapped potential in the use of enzymes. The breweries and distilleries sectors should be assessed separately: both use IB, but in general have limited association with it. The report recommends that further direct company contact through a survey would help to provide firm estimates of the contribution of IB to the Scottish economy.

Author Frontline
Published Year 2012
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Chemical sciences