R&D funding would bring £103m growth and 1,400 jobs

Picture: Bill Hendry
Picture: Bill Hendry
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Increased funding in research and development would result in almost 1,400 new jobs in Scotland, according to research conducted by a pharmaceutical trade association.

A report by the Association of the British Pharmacetuical Industry (ABPI) predicts that devoting 2.4 per cent of the country’s GDP to research and development by 2027, a target set by the UK government in last year’s Budget, will create more than 760 extra jobs and generate an extra £57m for the Scottish economy.

The research goes on to say that increasing the level of funding to 3 per cent would result in almost 1,400 new positions and £103m added growth.

ABPI’s estimated figures for Scotland are based on predictions for funding boosts into research and development for the region’s thriving life sciences sector.

The extra growth is predicted to come from collaborations between Scottish universities and the pharmaceutical industry, with many higher education institutions already working in conjunction with leading companies to pioneer new treatments.

Alison Culpan, director for Scotland, ABPI, said: “This research underlines why increasing the amount that government and industry spends on innovation is so important. Industries like pharmaceuticals have the potential to generate the jobs of tomorrow, as well as securing the thousands of jobs they provide in Scotland today.

“But it’s not just about jobs and the economy. Our scientists work hand-in-hand with the NHS to provide medicines which save and improve millions of lives in this country, around the world and in communities in this region.”

Recent investment in life sciences research has come from organisations like the UK Medical Research Council, which is part-funding a £16m collaboration between the University of Glasgow, pharmaceutical company GSK and four other universities to improve scientific understanding of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which currently affects an estimated 1.2 million people in the UK.

“By investing in the life sciences like pharmacy we can be part of the battle against illnesses that continue to blight so many lives – while also helping to deliver jobs and prosperity in Scotland and across Britain,” said Culpan.

Nationally, the ABPI research indicates that devoting 3 per cent of GDP into the research and development in the pharmaceutical sector would create almost 44,000 extra jobs overall and add £3.27bn to the economy.

The government’s 2.4 per cent target is intended to help the UK match research and development spending in the most advanced economies such as Japan, Germany and the United States.