Our priorities

Developing growth sectors - life sciences

The Highlands and Islands is home to Scotland’s largest life sciences company, and to a growing number of life science organisations including businesses, internationally recognised academia, and pioneering healthcare providers.

Activity has grown across all parts of the region, supported by a collaborative approach which combines expertise in medical devices, diagnostics, digital healthcare, informatics and natural products. Opportunities for growth are emerging as social and economic trends and advances in technology present new models for the delivery of health and care, as evidenced by the developing cluster of digital healthcare activity.

In particular we will deliver our Accelerator programme which will stimulate the creation and growth of scalable life science and digital health projects and businesses. It will promote rapid growth of innovative research projects and provide participants with a wide range of benefits including dedicated coaching, access to life
science specialists, workshops and seminars, accommodation at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness and a peer group learning environment.

We will work with the 80 or so businesses now active in the regional life sciences sector and will seek to capitalise on investments in key infrastructure projects, including the European Marine Science Park in Argyll, the Alexander Graham Bell Centre in Elgin and Inverness Campus. These state-of-the-art facilities enhance our inward investment proposition, which will also be a priority for this sector, reflecting decisions by several businesses to establish a presence in the region, and enabled by Enterprise Area benefits at selected sites.

Developing skills to support future growth of the sector is critical. HIE will work with partners to deliver innovative projects to ensure provision of relevant skills, and will work closely with the Scottish Funding Council
and partners on the delivery of innovation centres, including those covering digital health and industrial biotechnology, to secure commercial advantage for businesses in our region.

Growing collaboration between academic institutions, clinicians, NHS, businesses and public agencies is creating multi-faceted opportunities in disease management, smart communities and wellbeing and preventative health. This ‘Collaborative Campus’ initiative will be a major focus of our efforts to accelerate sector growth.


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