Life sciences sector: export plan

This plan reaffirms the commitments made from ‘A Trading Nation’ to ensure our trade and investment agenda is front and centre of our economic growth strategy. Co-produced with stakeholders, this plan will work with the sector to identify how best to support Scottish businesses to grow their exports.

4. Actions and Next Steps

The actions in this plan address four key themes:

  • support for Scottish companies to take advantage of the global opportunities in life sciences;
  • support to access key skills and specialist advice;
  • leveraging the benefits of peer-to-peer learning; and
  • enhancing support in the US.

Support in these key areas will deliver further export growth for Scotland’s life sciences sector and the actions are summarised below.

Figure 6: Summary of key actions

Company/opportunity support

1. Pilot a support mechanism in the life sciences sector to help SMEs undertake market research, market visits and/or attend specialist in-market events

2. Design and pilot an advisory panel for early-stage companies to help them refine their commercialisation and market entry strategy in the digital health space (US-focussed)

3. Promote collaboration across sectors (life sciences, technology, food and drink) to further explore and validate opportunities and priority markets for the animal health, agritech and aquaculture subsectors to support future export growth

4. Leverage existing relationships and work with partners in emerging/growing markets to monitor opportunities for the Scottish life sciences sector and build awareness of the changing global landscape for life sciences

Skills and Expertise

5. Work with enterprise agencies and partners to develop an approach to support companies to access expertise to help them navigate the regulatory frameworks in international markets

6. Explore developing a database of technical expertise to support companies with commercialisation and exporting (e.g., international finance, tax, culture, legislation, regulatory and health economics)

Peer Learning

7. Partner with agencies, industry bodies and relevant experts to deliver a programme of networking events to build knowledge of markets and opportunities, and to develop exporting skills amongst businesses. This will have a focus on encouraging peer-to-peer learning

US Market Support

8. Build on SDI’s current US presence by recruiting an additional SDI in-market specialist in the US and develop new strategic partnerships in key states to support Scottish companies to enter and grow in the market

9. Promote Scotland’s innovation and expertise, and build relationships with decision makers in the US, by re-establishing Scotland’s international trade and investment presence at the annual BIO International Convention. We will also explore how Scotland can best leverage opportunities at AdvaMed

This plan aims to assist companies who work in the Scottish life sciences sector to realise their export ambition. It is anticipated that the plan will be reviewed annually and will be adapted to respond to developments in the sector (e.g., changes in market-specific conditions), to reflect growing opportunities (e.g., industrial biotechnology as a driver of a bio-based economy) and to align with aspects of other Scottish Government strategies, such as NSET and Scotland’s Vision for Trade, which will help drive the sector forward and contribute to inclusive growth.

The Scottish Government, alongside key agencies working with SDI, will work together to deliver this plan via the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group and its themed internationalisation workstream. This sets this plan within the heart of industry and ensures that all partners – public sector, industry, and government – remain accountable for the delivery of the actions in this plan to assist the Scottish life sciences sector to realise its export ambition and support economic growth.

We will also ensure coherence of this plan with steps being taken in delivering Scotland’s Vision for Trade to improve the trading market for goods and services with a relevance for life sciences.

To help deliver these opportunities for economic growth, the Scottish Government will use the Scottish Government’s trade board as the key vehicle for ministerial oversight.



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