I attended the annual Scotsman Conference in Edinburgh a few weeks ago and not only was it extremely insightful, but it certainly emphasised that the life sciences sector is one of our key strengths within Scotland. The contribution of life sciences to the Scottish Economy is currently £3.2billion per annum and this is expected to grow to £6 billion by 2020. I am very excited to be part of it. The conference certainly outlined the strong presence of the life sciences sector in Scotland along with giving an insight into how Scotland can be a global leader within this area.
There were a number of interesting and thought provoking suggestions from a range of expert speakers who outlined how Scotland can become a genuine centre for the life sciences sector. I have detailed a few of these below:
The first speaker of the day was Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney, who recognises that innovation and research is strong in Scotland but could be stronger if there was more emphasis around collaboration, especially between academia and the industry.
Having researched this further I can see that Scotland has around 19 universities and higher education institutions, and our life sciences researchers are among the most productive in the world, as measured by a number of publications and citations. I truly feel that the quality of Scotland's research and development is a key reason why companies choose to locate in Scotland and if the government does put more emphasis on collaboration then the industry can only thrive and attract more international organisations. Which brings me onto one of the other speaker’s suggestions;
Patrick Wiggins (Chief Executive Officer at i3, a leading partnership including Scottish Enterprise and North Ayrshire Council) talked about taking Scotland’s life sciences industry forward and doing this is by generating interest from overseas companies. He feels that this is achievable as North Ayrshire is already home to a number of globally recognised businesses including GSK and Sigma Aldrich. The area also offers a range of businesses including a skilled labour market, high quality specialist supply companies, a supportive planning approach with easy access to the central belt.
We then had an extremely passionate and inspirational presentation from Hugh Griffith (CEO Nucana BioMed). Pulling on his own experiences, Hugh gave an encouraging insight into attracting global investment to support the life sciences sector, stating that it can be achievable if you get - finance, commercial relevance, development strategy and most importantly a strong IP (key management team) in place. He said that people within any business is crucial and if you can get that right then the rest should take care of itself.
This led nicely into the 2nd part of the day where the speakers were focused on growing new and successful business in Scotland, the common theme throughout was PEOPLE. It couldn’t have been emphasised enough that people are the most important asset to any company, if any business gets this right they can only grow, therefore leading to the growth of the Life Sciences Sector in Scotland. On reflection, I feel extremely excited that I can play a huge part in finding the right people for organisations within the Scottish market. Entrust People are experts in sourcing the right talent for companies within the industry and I feel we can play a huge part in the growth of the Scottish Lifesciences sector.
There are exciting times ahead for a sector that I am very proud and passionate to be involved in.