Life sciences

Life sciences involves the scientific study of living organisms such as humans, animals and plants, and includes industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical research and medical technologies.

The life sciences sector is an important contributor to Scotland's economy, providing 44,200 jobs across more than 700 diverse businesses and Higher Education Institutions.

As well as providing economic benefits, the life sciences sector contributes to improving the health and medical care of people and animals in Scotland and worldwide.

Life sciences is identified as a growth sector and is highlighted in both Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation and the National Innovation Strategy indicating our commitment to nurture and grow Scotland's life sciences sector.

The life sciences sector supported the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways, including supporting testing supply chains, vaccine development and the associated supply chain. A report, Coronavirus (COVID-19): life sciences sector support, was published on 27 August 2020 to highlight some of this work.

Life Sciences Scotland

Life Sciences Scotland (LSS) is the Industry Leadership Group (ILG) for Scotland's life sciences sector. Its members include Scottish Ministers, as well as life sciences leaders from industry, academia, trade bodies, the NHS and our Enterprise agencies.

LSS meets quarterly and provides the opportunity for Scottish Ministers to understand key issues affecting the life sciences sector, and to work on ensuring the industry's continued success in Scotland.

Life Sciences Strategy

LSS is responsible for developing and implementing the Life Sciences Strategy for Scotland which it manages through various work streams and subgroups.

The latest Life Sciences Strategy for Scotland 2025 Vision was published on 2 February 2017. Its vision is to make Scotland the location of choice for the life sciences community and its mission is to increase the industry's contribution to the Scottish economy to £8bn by 2025 (achieved ahead of schedule in 2020).

The most recent economic analysis (2024) shows the life sciences sector now contributes almost £10.5bn to the Scottish economy, with life sciences exports worth £4.3bn.

Further information on the sector in Scotland can be found at the Life Sciences Scotland website.

Supporting life sciences businesses

We provide support to life science businesses primarily through our enterprise agencies:

Additional support is available for life science businesses that choose to locate at our Life Sciences Enterprise Area sites.

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