UK Sector Assets

The UK is a fantastic venue for the health and life sciences and should be on every global organisation’s radar screen.  Its unique capabilities are evidenced in groundbreaking initiatives that are transforming the detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of myriad conditions.

Key to the ecosystem are the renowned science base; superior talent; a connected and collaborative cluster of activity; an internationally competitive business and regulatory climate; government prioritisation of the sector evidenced by billions of public funds invested; and a spirit of partnership working between the public and private sectors. And then we have the true differentiator in terms of our competition, the NHS.  It acts as a partner for research, provides unique data and evidence development, and is increasingly engaged as a customer, while serving a population of more than 65 million people.

In recent years, we have repeatedly asserted that a special strength the UK possesses is the depth and quality of the dialogue underway between industry, academia, government, medical charities and the NHS, helping to break down the barriers and to understand, appreciate and foster the symbiotic relationship between all parties.  The importance of this as a strategic advantage in global terms is massively understated and we would argue it is not replicated to such a degree anywhere else.

Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

Our assets are underpinned by the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, led by Sir John Bell and launched in 2017. The Strategy made a series of commitments to address various challenges facing the industry with a focus on more efficiently translating scientific discoveries into innovative products and services, making that process smarter and faster, with better returns for patients, businesses and investors. With billions in funding for initiatives supporting the delivery of next-generation treatments and technologies, a substantial majority of the Strategy’s objectives have been met and active execution of more is well underway.  The Government’s goal is to keep the UK at the forefront of life sciences and health innovation while growing new industries (genomics, digital health, early diagnosis, and advanced therapies).

The Strategy creates opportunities for economic growth while underpinning a more efficient and effective health system. Together, it is hard to see where government can better spend its resources and energy.  Progress made toward implementing the Strategy are well summarized in the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Update issued in early 2020.

Five Core Strengths

  • A leading science base
  • A strong global cluster to rival California and Massachusetts
  • The National Health Service
  • A partnership between Government and Industry
  • A competitive business environment

A Few Claims to Fame

  • #1 in Europe for Life Science inward investment and across all sectors
  • 2 of the top 3 universities in the world for life sciences
  • 3 of the top 5 universities in the world for preclinical, clinical and health sciences
  • 4 of the top 10 universities in the world for health subjects
  • A staggering 15% of the world’s top ranked 200 universities (in a country the size of New England)
  • More than 5,800 life science businesses operating across the UK
  • 250,000 people working in the industry, plus many more in healthcare, government and charities
  • A health system that has been rated #1 in the world (Commonwealth Fund)
  • A health system for more than 65 million people (who share their data) with 1.4 million treated every day
  • The largest biomedical pipeline in Europe
  • Europe’s largest cluster of advanced therapies companies
  • £1.5 billion spent on R&D each year by UK research charities
  • 1st in the G7 for life sciences impact by citations
  • 2.4% of GDP to be spent on R&D by 2027
  • Half of UK scientific papers have international co-authors
  • Nobel prize winners second in total only to the USA

BELS Serves as a Connector

BELS is equipped to fast track connections to this treasure trove for our Members.  We are plugged into the UK scene and able to make high level introductions. 

The UK’s health and life science ecosystem is complex and teeming with activity across the country. To keep BELS Members better connected to it, we curate and disseminate UK-focused news of the sector by emailing BELS Brief Clips, posting occasional blogs, and adding refreshers to this website.

Explore UK health & life science assets further: