Life sciences

Industry Sector


The Scottish life sciences industry thrives on its workforce. It owes its global reputation to this community of exceptionally talented people – and joining that community is easier now than ever before.

These days, there are multiple routes into this industry, even without a PhD. If a traditional academic path is not for you, an apprenticeship or internship could be your entry point. From research assistants to marketing managers to biologists, there’s demand at every level for staff with a wide range of skills.

Whatever way you decide to go, cultivating a strong work ethic and getting some laboratory experience under your belt will help you prepare for your life sciences career.

The industry now

The sector employs 39,000 people across 750 organisations

Scotland has the highest number of life sciences start-ups per capita in the UK

Life sciences account for 55% of total Scottish University research funding

Investment in research and development (BERD spending) in Life Sciences is over 30% of the total in Scotland, showing it as a key growth industry

The future

The sector aims to double its economic contribution to £6.2bn by 2020

China, Brazil, India, Russia, Turkey and Mexico are growth markets for medical products, providing new opportunities

Future labour growth areas include research, manufacturing and sales and marketing