Most cities erect memorials dedicated to political leaders, military legends, or other national heroes. In Scotland, a statue
of Dr James Young Simpson, the founder of anesthesia, proudly stands in the center of Edinburgh as a symbol of Scotland's
passion and commitment to life sciences for more than 100 years.
Lorna B. Jack
Scotland's strong history of scientific innovation and discovery continues to fuel the nation's life sciences industry. Today,
this small European nation of just over five million has established global leadership in stem cell science, cancer and cardiovascular
research, neuroscience, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and signal transduction biology. Strong government support in
combination with a highly skilled international workforce and a thriving academic environment has provided the necessary tools
and foundation for Scotland to defy boundaries in nearly every area of biomedical research. Furthermore, Scotland's significant
scientific contributions in the field of medicine, including CAT scans, MRIs, and unprecedented expertise in cloning (creators
of Dolly the Sheep), have helped quickly establish a reputation as one of the world's preeminent leaders in life sciences
and biotechnology — on par with Japan and the US.
In the past year alone, Scottish researchers have made remarkable progress in a wide variety of life sciences disciplines,
including internationally acclaimed work in stem cells and regenerative medicine, cloning, and gene therapy delivery technology.
Recently, research scientist Dr. Paul De Souza and his team at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian succeeded in deriving new
cell lines in media that are free of animal serum or serum products, creating some of the first "non-contaminated" lines in
the world; Dr. Ian Wilmut was granted a human-cloning license by UK regulators to study stem cells from cloned human embryos
of individuals affected with motor neuron disease; and the University of Aberdeen announced the development of a new method
of gene therapy using laser light.
James Young Simpson,M.D., founder of anesthesia Edinburgh, Scotland
According to the Framework for Action Plan developed by Scottish Enterprise, research and innovations such as these have led
to an unprecedented growth rate averaging 20 percent over the last four years, compared to a 15 percent growth rate in the
remainder of Europe, for life sciences companies establishing facilities and conducting business. The total turnover of the
Scottish life sciences industry is estimated by Scottish Enterprise to have contributed £1 billion to the nation's gross output
As one of the most successful life sciences centers in Europe, Scotland houses more than 20 percent of the UK's biotech companies.
It continues to stand as a world leader in biotechnology with international partnerships, an attractive regulatory environment,
robust capital investments by the government, and funding by private venture capital firms.
To help ensure this forward momentum, the Scottish government continues to leverage its international economic development
agency — Scottish Development International (SDI). Since SDI's formation, the agency has produced resounding results working
with the life sciences industry and continues to be successful in attracting foreign investment and skilled scientists from
around the world.
Furthermore, Scotland's Inter-mediary Technology Institute (ITI) for life sciences has been highly effective in identifying
potential opportunities to commission, manage, and develop projects in emerging technologies across the broad spectrum of
life sciences. Launched in September 2003 as part of the Scottish executive's commitment to technology, commercialization,
and development, ITI Life Sciences has a proven track record in using intellectual assets generated by these research projects
to increase the strength and sustainability of life sciences companies and organizations based in Scotland. This strategic
initiative will continue to invest £150 million over the next 10 years to increase competitiveness in several of its key technology
sectors, including life sciences.
Scotland is also taking a leading role in funding early-stage ideas leading to the creation of new businesses or technology
licensing. Companies such as Cyclacel, Axis Shield, Ardana, and ProStrakan that focus primarily on product development for
the human healthcare market are prime examples of organizations that have received research and development funding from the