Scotland National Strategy for Economic Transformation: industry leadership groups and sector groups - evidence

This paper provides summary evidence received from Scotland's industry leadership groups and other economic sector groups as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation engagement process.

12. Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group

Figure 12.1 – Turnover and GVA of the Scottish Life Sciences Sector [21]
Figure 12.2 – Employment of the Scottish Life Sciences Sector [22]

Industry Aspirations to 2030

Industry aims are to ensure:

  • that patients and consumers in Scotland have access to both existing and new, innovative treatments, products and services; and
  • collaborative approaches are taken to grow the Life Sciences sector and so it can reach or exceed the growth target of £8 billion by 2025, a year-on-year growth of 6%.

Industry Opportunities

Significant opportunities for the life sciences sector have been identified in:

  • regenerative aquaculture, pollinator reinforcement and controlled environment agriculture. Furthermore, AAA (Animal, Agricultural technologies and Aquaculture) has the ideal opportunity to be at the heart of the green and circular economies for growth and recovery in Scotland, making better use and impact on land, whilst being front and centre in the ‘forensics of food’ and leading in the discoveries of vaccines and therapeutics.
  • the global reach of the sector. This is an opportunity both for the environment and the economy, where Scotland already has strength and scale plus huge and potentially unique ‘raw material’ to contribute with the return on investment in high paying, educated long term jobs and investment throughout Scotland while further providing a service which all parts of the economy require - connectivity.
  • the Lifearc recommended life science investment proposals. Delivering these proposals will build a national life science cluster; facilitate connections between different parts of the ecosystem and promote internationally; build the enabling conditions for life science companies to scale and flourish; and, support innovation and commercialisation.

Industry Challenges

Current challenges that the industry faces include:

  • labour challenges in the AAA markets;
  • an over-reliance on imports and potentially fragile supply chains;
  • risks around delivery of fairer shared value across supply chains; And,
  • positioning Scotland as a priority market for the launch of innovation, with broader measures of value needed to reflect the changing nature of medicine.

Ongoing and Planned Activity for Industry

The industry has a number of activity stream in progress, including:

  • One Health Strategy: a big focus on skills, training and deployment of digital and data;
  • the Life Sciences Skills Investment Plan;
  • the Life Sciences Strategic Plan: Anchor, Build and Attract; and,
  • plans for increased R&D, given that 60% of existing human diseases are zoonotic, including not least COVID-19, and activity in this area will make Scotland even better placed to respond to the next pandemic.



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