Recommendations: A national health innovation life science cluster
To build a national health innovation life science cluster, facilitate connections between different parts of the ecosystem and promote internationally
We recommend that the Scottish Government and Enterprise Agencies
1. Develop and maintain a digital platform to build connections within and between different parts of the life sciences ecosystem, both in Scotland and internationally.
2. Develop a Net Zero health innovation life science infrastructure and commercial real estate pipeline, building on Scotland's reputation as a world leader in the transition to Net Zero.
3. Develop a health innovation life science prospectus to map out key parts of ecosystem, signpost to innovation and commercialisation collaboration opportunities and points of contact, and clearly set out practical support available.
Building on the triple helix
The Scottish health innovation ecosystem already has the component parts of a flourishing health innovation national cluster. The quality of our offering, based on a rich tradition of innovation, sets us apart from other clusters. Health innovation sectors continue to benefit from the 'triple helix' partnership between industry, academia and health and care services. Our focus now must be further cementing this partnership working and expanding this network to more purposefully work with the investor community and early stage companies with the potential to scale. As the sector continues to grow, new members of our ecosystem are joining all the time. Iterative management is required to reflect the evolving ecosystem and enable the ecosystem to function as a single, cohesive national cluster. Not only will this support continued growth of health innovation in Scotland, it will act as a catalyst and continue to build the sector's profile, both nationally and internationally.
A Net Zero health innovation cluster
The building of a health innovation and health tech cluster in Scotland can leverage and build on the success of other emerging and established clusters. Scotland is at the forefront of the international response to climate change. The global economy is undergoing massive transformation to reach Net Zero by 2050. Scotland is among a small number of countries leading both the transition and the innovation to make it possible. The economy of the future is emerging now in Scotland and there are a range of support measures in place to help businesses decarbonise. The right infrastructure is needed for all parts of our economy to reach Net Zero, including health innovation. There is significant opportunity here to offer a green alternative to inward and global capital investors and join the Scottish ecosystem to be at the forefront of a Just Transition to Net Zero.
Further developing an international profile
Scotland is a great place to innovate and do business. As a diverse health innovation sector, we need to promote what we have to offer and more clearly set out the economic vision for Scotland and how to be part of it. A health innovation cluster must be both easy to navigate and on the radar of prospective inward and global capital investors. Building on existing resources, promotional material that matches our values, intent and the opportunities available will enable all of Team Scotland (across the public, private and third sectors) to champion the building of a national cluster.
An attractive environment for investment: Par Equity
Edinburgh based, Par Equity was founded in 2008 to identify and back innovative, high-growth technology companies in Scotland and across the north of the UK. To date, Par Equity has supported 66 companies, with the portfolio raising £315 million raised in aggregate. Partner Robert Higginson, who focuses on Digital Health Technology, has represented investor priorities for developing the ecosystem, which include: improving access to much larger pools of capital to support scaling Scottish companies; addressing the back-log and complexity of securing regulatory approval, and harmonising international standards; and establishing a mechanism to engage innovators in the NHS as partners to deliver solutions to key health priorities.
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