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Life Sciences in the Highlands and Islands Life Science is a significant growth sector within Scotland which is rapidly developing a reputation for excellence regionally, nationally and globally.

The Highlands and Islands have strengths in two major sub sectors: natural products (particularly in Argyll and the Western Isles) and “P4 Digital Healthcare” Predictive, Preventative, Personalised and Participatory.

The increasing number of life science businesses based in the Highlands and Islands is confirmation of the region's potential and evidence of Highlands and Islands Enterprise's committed support for the sector.

Scotland has a supportive policy environment and a health service specifically tasked with delivering healthcare using digital technology (NHS24).

Investment has been made across the area with £7.5m support for Phase 1 of the new European Marine Science Park. This is next to businesses such as GlycoMar Ltd and Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd, occupying laboratory space in the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology and adjacent to one of the world's leading marine science institutes, the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) Dunstaffnage, Oban. The Global company Porex Corp, Atlanta, USA serving over 1,300 customers in more than 65 countries has located a manufacturing subsidiary for PTFE at Alness 15 miles north of Inverness. PTFE is used in a broad range of medical, industrial, and high technology applications.

This year one for the world's largest deployments of telehealthcare will occur in Scotland in the form of the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) programme DALLAS: Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles At Scale. This will show how assisted living technologies and services can be can be used to promote wellbeing, and provide top quality health and care, enabling people to live independently. SRUC’s (Scotland’s Rural College) world leading Epidemiology Unit will further its research into the control of animal and zoonotic diseases infections that transfer from animals to humans. SRUC is leading the collaborative studies with the UHI, Centre for Rural Health, Aberdeen University and NHS Highland.

At a Glance Number of businesses


Number of employees


Total annual salaries GVA

£49m £131m

In Elgin a further £6.5m has is being invested in the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Moray, Life Science Centre which will support researchers, including those experts from Dr Gray's Hospital who are showing how IT can revolutionise health services in remote areas. It will complement existing business activity, like the blood monitoring device developers, AccuNostics at their new base at Forres Enterprise Park

Life Sciences adjacent to the Inverness Campus Building on the benefits and location of Raigmore Hospital, the largest district hospital in Scotland Inverness Medical was formed in 1995 and pioneered the development of electronic blood glucose monitoring. The company was taken over by the Johnson & Johnson family of companies and as Lifescan, Scotland have developed the world leading OneTouch® technology and is the largest medical device manufacturer in Scotland. They recently announced an £11m investment, including £2.8 million from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to locate their Global Diabetes Research Centre in Inverness. Developing the model of a collaborative Life Science Group adjacent to LifeScan, and Raigmore Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE) subsequently built the Centre for Health Science, one of the first of its kind in the UK. The project brought together a seven-way public, private and academic sector partnership among HIE, NHS Highland, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), University of Stirling, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), University of Aberdeen and LifeScan.

The first phase accommodated the University of Stirling's Department of of Nursing and Midwifery, NES postgraduate medical centre, a library for the Highland healthcare workforce and top class facilities for healthcare meetings and conferences Phase two created a Clinical Skills Centre which uses state-of-the-art interactive manikins for teaching clinical care, resuscitation skills, minor surgery and moving and handling patients to students as well as the healthcare workforce. A collaborative Dental Centre has been developed to provide NHS dental care alongside a dental school serving final year dental students from the Universities of Dundee and Glasgow as well as UHI students studying for a BSc in Oral Health Science. Also present is the Centre for Rural Health which is the only research centre of its kind in the UK - a collaborative venture between UHI and the University of Aberdeen with a mission to advance knowledge of health and healthcare services in remote and rural communities. Developed through NES, the Remote and Rural Healthcare Educational Alliance (RRHEAL) has a Scotlandwide remit to explore new methods of bringing high quality education to the rural healthcare workforce. The Glasgow School of Art have established a medical visualisation lab, which is dedicated to 3D visualisation and interaction through academic, research and commercial activities. The Digital Design Studio is involved in world leading research to digitally document human anatomy at a level of detail greater than ever achieved before and to develop 3D visualisation and haptic (touch)

training tools for the medical professions. The third phase of the Centre for Health Science enables patients to attend diabetes clinics at the Highland Diabetes Institute (HDI) a unique partnership between NHS Highland, UHI and Johnson & Johnson's, LifeScan Scotland. The Highland Diabetes Institute also accommodates a Clinical Professor of Diabetes and a LifeScan Professor of Cardiovascular Science. At the heart of the Centre for Health Science is a Clinical Research Facility (CRF), the first in the Highlands and Islands and one of only five in Scotland. The CRF provides a purpose-built environment for high quality clinical research. The other four facilities in Scotland are based in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. Business incubation space has been created, with offices and laboratories for healthrelated firms with high growth potential.

Life Sciences in the Higlands and Islands , Scotland  
Life Sciences in the Higlands and Islands , Scotland  

Life Sciences in the Highlands and islands of Scotland