Chemical sciences and industrial biotechnology

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Female scientist at work in lab at Axis Shield, Dundee

Sustainable manufacturing

Opportunities for industrial biotechnology, continuous manufacturing, and co-location are plentiful.

Sustainable manufacturing will be at the forefront of chemical sciences in Scotland over the next 10 years. Our industry leadership group, Chemical Sciences Scotland, has laid out a strategy to help sustainable manufacturing flourish by ensuring the right environment is in place to make it happen.  

By 2025 our mission is to:

  • Grow industrial biotechnology (IB)-related turnover in Scotland to £900m 
  • Establish biorefinery and biochemical operations in Scotland

Download the National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology (PDF, 779KB)

Glasgow is home to Scotland's IB innovation centre, IBioIC, which helps foster the commercialisation of biotech solutions in both the chemical and life sciences sectors.

Continuous manufacturing is essential too. And our Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) helps industry to exploit the advantages of this technology. 

CMAC will accelerate the adoption of continuous manufacturing processes, systems and plants - all for the low-cost, sustainable production of high quality chemical products.

If you're looking for a site with existing assets in terms of utility, feedstock, and supply chain, Scotland can offer excellent opportunities to co-locate with companies in areas with all of these things. 

Within our designated Enterprise Areas, you can benefit from generous incentives ranging from discounted business rates to high-speed broadband. 

Download the Riorefinery Roadmap for Scotland (PDF, 1.54MB)

Scottish chemicals exports top £4.6 billion a year

Making the sector second only to food and drink.

The world's leading chemical companies, including FujiFilm, DSM, GlaxoSmithKline, DuPont Teijin Films, DOW and Syngenta all have Scottish operations.

They are among the 200+ chemical sciences companies currently operating in Scotland employing a total of 70,000 people, over 10,000 of these directly.

These companies benefit not only from our talented workforce and excellent transport infrastructure, but also from our world-class research and development (R&D) capabilities. It's time to join them.

Source: Scottish Enterprise Economic Facts, October 2017

Research excellence

Scotland's chemical sciences R&D is consistently ranked in the top three in the world.

Scotland has long been associated with scientific and manufacturing excellence. This excellence continues to the present day, according to research by Elsevier our chemical sciences research base is consistently ranked top three in the world in terms of productivity and influence. 

So it’s not surprising that we have the likes of EastChem, the UK's leading University chemistry department, among range of globally acclaimed institutions.

Read the report

Green chemistry

Skills for industry

Scotland produces around 1000 graduates a year with degrees in chemistry or a related subject - giving you access to plenty of talent.

Scotland's education system puts a strong focus on developing courses in line with business needs. 

Much of the chemicals research in Scottish universities is designed to address specific industrial issues, and the academic sector continues to develop and adapt to meet the needs of a modern economy. 

So Scottish graduates come not only with esteemed qualifications that are highly sought after, but also a world-ready outlook on the industry. 

Scottish graduates with the right skills for the chemical sciences industry

Sector support

Chemical Sciences Scotland is the voice of the sector - a vibrant community which benefits from wide ranging support from the Scottish Government including tax credits, incentives and grants.

R&D Tax Credits

Scotland offers substantial tax relief for research and development. The government's tax credit scheme can help you:

  • Create new, competitive products, services and processes
  • Find and access new markets
  • Provide high-quality skilled jobs

Patent Box

Got a great patented idea that you're eager to turn into a successful business? Benefit from lower rate of corporation tax of 10% on any profits from commercialising your UK or EU patent here in Scotland.

R&D Grants

Scotland also provides R&D grants to support industrial research and experimental development. More information is available on the Scottish Enterprise website.

Find out more

Industrial biotech insight and case studies

CelluComp founders

Case study

Scotland's first biorefinery plant is up and running

View more on Scotland's first biorefinery plant is up and running

Case study

Powering cars with the world's first 'whisky fuel'

View more on Powering cars with the world's first 'whisky fuel'
Chemical worker 2


Scotland's top spots for industrial biotechnology

View more on Scotland's top spots for industrial biotechnology
Find more

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