Centers of Excellence

A spotlight on the areas of Scotland which have become the hub of life sciences activity in recent years
Dec 02, 2006
By BioPharm International Editors

Although several European countries boast centers of activity, few offer as many resources as the network that comprises Scotland's centers of excellence: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Highlands & Islands. Each area includes some of the world's best universities, research institutes, and industry giants, all within close proximity to each other, optimizing the number of resources available to researchers. This is most impressive considering Scotland's size relative to other countries with a population of approximately five million people. However, the country's tradition of innovation continues to guide the excellence across a gamut of life sciences from biopharmaceuticals and stem cell research to medical devices and manufacturing.

Voices of our Cities


Center for Biomedical Research, Edinburgh
Consistently outperforming the growth of the local economy over the past 20 years, Aberdeen has remained a dynamic and prosperous location.

Although Aberdeen is most distinguished for its oil, gas, and subsea technology developments, the city boasts a proven reputation in life sciences. Not only does the University of Aberdeen's College of Life Sciences and Medicine ( has an impressive reputation for medical research innovations, but the Aberdeen Science & Technology Park ( is also within close proximity.

The Aberdeen Science and Technology Park offers a variety of innovative resources to aid companies interested in developing new research and technology across a range of fields. In fact, with more than 50 tenants and approximately 750 employees, the Aberdeen Science and Technology Park offers a diverse consortium of knowledge and expertise for collaboration and other development projects. One of the Park's major resources is its links to medical and biotechnologies, fostering a small hub of life sciences research tied to the academic community in Aberdeen.

Lifescan Scotland plays a major role in the development of a healthcare and biotechnology cluster in Inverness, helping secure the long-term future of the bio-medical sector in the Highlands and Islands.
Exhibiting a strong focus in life sciences with its College of Life Sciences and Medicine, the University of Aberdeen demonstrates powerful ties to the industry along with the local Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS, Programs at the IMS range from translational medicine research and systems biology to cancer biology research and neurobiology. Offering researchers a significant advantage as one of the largest teaching hospital sites in Europe, Aberdeen is a prime example of the regional collaborations taking place in Scotland among scientists and clinicians. Innovation at the University is exemplified through a collection of spin-out companies and licensing opportunities.

The Institute of Applied Health Sciences at The Robert Gordon University ( adds another layer to the region's attractiveness by developing leading population-based studies on healthcare worldwide. Scientists conducting advanced studies in biological science can look to the University's School of Biological Sciences, where researchers are working globally in different environments and in advanced laboratory settings.

Overall, Scotland encompasses several areas of excellence in life sciences, and Aberdeen offers its own unique set of capabilities for supporting research. With two universities and five international research institutes, opportunities for international collaborations abound for companies looking to broaden their potential— as evidenced by the many companies now thriving in Aberdeen.


The West of Scotland is home to 180 companies in the life sciences and related industries.
Dundee has transformed itself into a city driven by developments in technology and growing on the back of industries such as life sciences and computer games.

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