Today, the global life and health sciences (LHS) sector is in the midst of significant and rapid change, which presents both opportunities and challenges for Northern Ireland.
Driving this change are supply and demand side pressures, lifestyle choices, longevity and a rise in chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and dementia. The upward trend in spending means healthcare is becoming a more significant part of national GDP and along with this the long-term sustainability of current models of provision is being increasingly questioned.
The 2015 report mapped areas of global demand alongside areas of strength to identify five areas of overlap – oncology, respiratory, cardiology, vision and diabetes.
Did you know…?
- There are approximately 130 mostly indigenous Life & Health Sciences companies in Northern Ireland, employing around 7,500 people – averaging 10% growth per annum in last 3 years.
- It is a highly export focussed sector, with around 10% of Northern Ireland exports, growing by average 12% per annum.
- Northern Ireland has internationally recognised R&D capability in sensors, diagnostics, oncology, diabetes and vision science, respiratory medicine and clinical research aligned with its highly rated REF universities, QUB and UU.
- The sector has close to £1bn value to local economy and is 90% export orientated.
- It accounts for approximately 12.5% of all Northern Ireland R&D expenditure.
- Northern Ireland has already created the ideal climate for the life sciences sector with unique integrated health and social care infrastructure
In 2008 the Matrix panel published its first report on Life & Health Sciences. Back then, the sector contributed approximately £310 million to the economy.
At that time there were approximately 60 companies in the Life & Health Sciences sector in Northern Ireland, employing 4,000 people. The sector was high value-added and export-oriented, with around 80% of sales generated from external markets.