StB – Scotland’s life science industry

Written by Tonie McKay

Animal health, and aquaculture research in Scotland 

Scotland is considered at the forefront of animal health research, particularly within fields including genetics, genomics, proteomics and animal disease research. Scotland has been a significant contributor to the life science industry for a long period of time, for instance in 1996 the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh was the first in the world to clone a mammal, Dolly the sheep.

Scotland is also considered a leading contributor within aquaculture, which includes farming of salmon, the creation of mussels and oysters, as well as harvesting seaweed.


A spin-out is when a group of people either at a university or a corporation separates itself from a larger organisation to create it’s own group. In turn, the new corporation has a parent company, which can hold shares in the newly formed company.

Edinburgh, Dundee and Strathclyde are all in the top 10 UK universities for life science spin-outs. The success rate of life-science start-ups, such as spin-outs are remarkably high in Scotland as between 2009-2015 there were 170 new life science start-ups with a success rate of 85%.

About the author

Tonie McKay

Tonie is Business for Scotland's Policy Research Executive, and is an EU national who has chosen to make her home in Scotland, originally from Stockholm.

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