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Export Plan for Life Sciences announced by Scottish Government


A new plan to help Scotland’s life sciences sector grow its exports has been unveiled.

The strategy, An Export Plan for Scotland’s Life Sciences Sector, has been developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with Scottish Development International and the Industry Leadership Group for Life Sciences.

It identifies key areas for action, including work to build on the existing customer base in the US and a focus on support mechanisms to help small and medium size companies target emerging markets.

Other priorities include:

  • Supporting companies to enter and grow in key markets by promoting innovation and expertise
  • Maximising export opportunities
  • Setting up networking events to ensure businesses can share success stories and best practice

International exports already account for more than 80% of the sector’s turnover and work will support efforts to tap into the growing global activity in areas such as health technology and new medical devices.

“Scotland’s life sciences sector is already an export success story, with the majority of its products destined for the overseas market. There is huge growth potential, and we want to do everything possible to support the industry as it looks to expand and target new markets.

“The plan will play an important role in helping us reach our target of growing Scottish exports to 25 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2029, as set out in A Trading Nation.

“The US has been identified as a priority market for pharma services, medical technology and digital health – based on the scale of the market, ease of doing business and openness to innovation – but our ambitions don’t end there. The world seeks innovative answers to a range of issues, and we want Scotland’s sector to have the support needed to build on its existing success.

“This plan is the result of work between the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group, Scottish Development International and the Scottish Government. Such collaboration is key in supporting economic growth and delivering on the aims of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, supporting the creation of high quality, skilled and sustainable jobs.”

Ivan McKee -Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism & Enterprise

“The creation of a life science specific export plan in support of the trading nation vision reinforces the value of the sector to Scotland. We thank the Scottish Government for the opportunity to input and collaborate on development of the plan which will be a great addition for companies in our vibrant sector.”

Co-chair of the Life Sciences ILG Mark Cook

Scotland has one of the largest life science clusters in Europe and our companies, universities and research centres have an international reputation for excellence. This ecosystem has been the foundation for a successful life sciences sector that makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s economy and has ensured global success for its products and services. The sector is forecast to continue growing and much of this will be driven by increased exports.

This plan reaffirms the commitments made from ‘A Trading Nation’, for growing Scotland’s exports, to ensure our trade and investment agenda is front and centre of our economic growth strategy.