Digital health and care

Scotland is leading the way in digital health with extensive digital records, a strong company base and the drive to rise to global health challenges.

Did you know?

Scotland hosts one of the biggest life sciences clusters in Europe. Organisations cover a wide range of interests from medical technologies and pharmaceutical services to animal health and agritech.

770 organisations

make up Scotland’s life sciences cluster, from experts in precision medicine to industrial biotechnology.

41,000 people

work across Scottish life sciences organisations and this number is constantly growing.

200 years of innovation

Scotland has been at the helm of the development of medical innovations for over two centuries.

A history and future of innovation

Scotland's global reach in digital health and care

Scotland has a rich history of medical innovation: from the world’s first cloned sheep (better known as Dolly) to pioneering the 3D printing of stem cells. It’s this spirit of innovation and desire to help solve global health challenges that underpins Scotland’s entire digital health and care industry.

From city-related problems with low life expectancy to rural and remote island healthcare challenges, Scotland is a perfect environment for testing.

Scotland’s tech capabilities allow it to develop new solutions for healthcare based around informatics, big data and patient stratification. This gives Scotland a competitive edge.

Scotland's history of medical and healthcare innovation

For more than 200 years, Scotland’s scientific discoveries have served as critical stepping stones for the advancement of modern medicine. Scotland has been at the forefront of pioneering medical innovations such as:

  • 1760 - the discovery of quinine as cure for malaria
  • 1847 - chloroform used in anaesthesia
  • 1853 - the first hypodermic syringe
  • 1928 - the discovery of penicillin
  • 1966 - Dolly - the world's first cloned sheep
  • 2004 - the world's first hand-held video-enabled laryngoscope
  • 2006 - i-Limb the world's first multi-articulating prosthetic hand
  • 2014 - development of SERS meningitis test
  • 2015 - pioneering 3D printing of stem cells

Why Scotland is the ideal fit for your digital health and care project

Join a community with innovation at its heart

In Scotland, the outstanding level of academic and industry collaboration has created a truly open innovation environment. When you invest in Scotland, you’re choosing a location which combines R&D excellence with the right environment for scale-up product testing in a real-life setting. As well as capability in product design and development, you’ll access a comprehensive supply chain. This offers professional support for product development, design and prototyping, through to manufacture, supply and distribution.

More about innovation in Scotland

Access the skills and talent you need

In Scotland, you’ll find a rich talent pool featuring almost 200,000 health staff and a similar number of social care staff, in addition to:

  • More than 96,000 people currently working in digital technology
  • More than 7000 people working within the digital health and care technology companies
  • An industry supplemented annually by 70,000 graduates and a pipeline of 17,000 graduates with digital health expertise

Help to access Scotland’s talent

Benefit from ongoing support

Scotland is one of the most accessible, well-connected and collaborative life sciences clusters in Europe. The Scottish digital health and care cluster is made up of over 200 core companies from innovative homegrown operators such as AxSys Technology, Aridhia and Sitekit to large multinationals such as LifeScan, Lockheed Martin, Selex, and Canon Medical Research Europe.

Life Sciences Scotland is the industry leadership group for Scotland’s life sciences sector. Its members include leaders from across the industry, government ministers, academia, trade bodies, the NHS and our enterprise agencies. The group meets regularly to discuss key issues and opportunities affecting the life sciences sector, and to work on ensuring the industry’s continued success in Scotland.

You’ll benefit from a connected life sciences community where patient-centred care, academic institutions and research capabilities are aligned across data, devices, diagnostics, digital health and precision medicine.

How we can help

Location opportunities

Scotland: connected for health and business

Scotland’s network of business incubators and science parks help make Scotland one of the most cost-effective manufacturing locations in Europe.

Scotland offers a broad and flexible range of commercial property, incubation and development options. There’s the renowned Edinburgh BioQuarter and facilities including Dundee Medipark, BioCity and the Glasgow Clinical Innovation Zone which is next to one of the largest acute hospitals in Europe. Or consider a move to the 100-acre Enterprise Park in the Highlands.

Exciting developments happening right now across Scotland, include the new £56 million Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute Scotland in Renfrewshire and a new Precision Medicine Living Lab in Glasgow. Plus a £40 million BioHub in Aberdeen and a £25 million investment to grow the Tayside Biomedical Cluster.

Scotland is also home to over 300 NHS hospitals, plus several private hospitals and four major Scottish university hospitals ready to work with you.

The assisted living lab

Another world first for Scotland

A new lab facility at the UK’s National Robotarium in Edinburgh is set to revolutionise the way Scotland delivers assisted living care in the community. The lab, which is said to be the first of its kind, will bring researchers, industry and care providers together to co-create scalable fast solutions using artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technologies.

Read the full story

Assisted Living Lab and smart technology in action - Photo credit Heriot-Watt University

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Need help?

If you have a question about digital health and care opportunities in Scotland, our team of advisers can help.