Jane Kennedy: life sciences a key driver of Glasgow's economy

The latest Life Science strategy for Scotland continues the drive to ensure that Scotland is the location of choice for life sciences businesses, researchers, healthcare professionals and investors whilst increasing the sector's contribution to Scotland's economic growth.

The latest Life Science strategy for Scotland continues the drive to ensure that Scotland is the location of choice for life sciences businesses, researchers, healthcare professionals and investors whilst increasing the sector's contribution to Scotland's economic growth.

It’s a successful approach. The latest EY attractiveness survey shows Scotland attracted 122 FDI projects in 2016, remaining (for the fifth consecutive year) the most attractive region for inward investment outside London. In addition, Scotland attracted more R&D projects than any other region in the UK.
But the Life Science Sector continues to flourish, not just because of our ability to attract companies to locate in Scotland, but through our indigenous businesses’ International outlook.

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Scotland has worked hard to establish a globally renowned reputation for regulatory standards ensuring we produce commercially competitive quality products and the Life Sciences Strategy clearly defines the need to maintain and build on this attractive business environment.

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Infrastructure is also essential in creating the right business environment for a burgeoning life sciences sector, bringing me neatly to the University of Glasgow’s Clinical Innovation Zone at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital, where I am based. The infrastructure at the University hospital campus site has been developed in a unique partnership between the University of Glasgow and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. More medical research is conducted in Scotland per capita than anywhere else in Europe (Lifesciencesscotland.com) and the Clinical Innovation Zone allows industry partners to access University of Glasgow’s internationally renowned researchers, at the heart of Europe’s largest hospital. Collectively, this approach aims to transform the management of chronic diseases globally by accelerating biomedical research through open innovation approaches, resulting in high quality health care provision and economic growth.

As an Edinburgh girl (Morningside no less!) some might find it strange that I am so quick to articulate the merits of Glasgow as a burgeoning life sciences hub, but it’s easy to make the case. Life Sciences is a sector that’s key to the development of Glasgow’s economy. The Life sciences companies located in the city employ over 1,000 highly skilled people and annually generate £99.1 million in turnover and £38.7 million in GVA (Scottish Growth Sector Statistics 2016). The ICE building alone will generate 400 high value jobs for the City, and drive inward investment. That’s why it’s great to see the Scotsman hosting this Life Science Conference in ‘the Weeg’ and we look forward to welcoming our community to Glasgow for the Life Sciences Dinner in February.

• Jane Kennedy is Business Innovation Manager at the University of Glasgow Clinical Innovation Zone, based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Jane is also a member of the Industry Leadership Group Business Environment workstream and NXD for Eden Scott’s TalentSpark.