The 2015 Life & Health Sciences Report

The life and health sciences sector in Northern Ireland has burgeoning potential. It contains the largest single employer in the region in the form of the HSC; it includes some of the UK’s most successful indigenous companies including Almac, Randox and Norbrook, in addition to being the focus of world-class research at our two academic institutions.

The sector is complex, heterogeneous, heavily regulated and requires a spectrum of support to service its manifold needs.

If Northern Ireland is to provide world-leading standards of healthcare to its citizens whilst creating strong, sustainable economic outputs the sector must be understood and delineated accurately and in detail. This report seeks to lay the foundations of this understanding so that a clear and concerted strategy may be developed to serve the needs of patients dovetailed to Northern Ireland’s future economic growth.

In the spring of 2014 a panel was drawn from across Northern Ireland’s life and health science sector. Led by industry but including representatives from government, academia, and the HSC, the panel sought to not only reach a consensus on the region’s strengths and capabilities but also to identify areas where barriers could be broken down to pave the way for further success in areas of future need. The panel also sought to understand how other regions with committed life and health science strategies have achieved success so that we might best take advantage of the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland.

It is this uniqueness that has revealed itself as the panel has gone about its task. Northern Ireland has a commercial sector that provides a fertile base for further entrepreneurial activity, a world-class academic sector with particular strengths that can provide areas of focus and an integrated HSC system that facilitates a test-bed for innovation and a generator of information that charts patient treatment and care.