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How a Small UK Nation is Making its Mark on the Global Life Sciences Stage

February 2, 2016
The impressive growth of life sciences in the UK is one of the biggest economic success stories of recent years.

[caption id="attachment_21208" align="alignleft" width="150"]Dr_Ian_Barwick Dr. Ian Barwick, Chief Operating Officer, Life Sciences Hub Wales.[/caption]

Described by politicians as a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the UK economy, the sector has a total annual turnover of £56 billion and accounts for 183,000 UK jobs (UKTI Inward Investment Report 2014 to 2015). Since 2014 it has even been championed by its own government minister. The vibrant life sciences industry in Wales has been a vital ingredient in that success. One of Wales’ fastest growing and most innovative industries, life sciences employs over 11,000 people in more than 350 companies and contributes around £2 billion to the Welsh economy every year. The country is now at the forefront of a number of exciting and pioneering developments across various fields, from pharmaceutical to biotechnology. At the heart of the sector is the Life Sciences Hub Wales, in the capital city Cardiff. This unique facility, launched in July 2014, is the nerve centre for connecting, inspiring and accelerating growth, bringing together academic and healthcare organisations, business, expert advisers, clinical and funding organisations. It has been suggested that having this unique focal point, coupled with the £100 million Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, is helping shift the industry’s centre of gravity away from its traditional UK academic bases of Oxford and Cambridge. The Hub’s main goal is to place Wales firmly on the world stage as a key player in the industry and build upon its reputation as an international centre of excellence. We have already forged some important international partnerships, including with Medicon Village, a research and innovation hub in Lund, Sweden, and Sherbrooke Innopole in Québec, Canada. Our flagship annual event, BioWales, takes place every March and attracts a number of international speakers and delegates. It is also a hugely important opportunity to sell Wales to the world as a leading life sciences centre open for business, and, like the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, offers a unique platform to develop new international connections and partnering opportunities. Events like these are so important for the future of this exciting sector; society’s most pressing challenges can only be tackled with a global approach. The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology is the world's largest industrial biotechnology event for business leaders, investors, and policy makers in biofuels, biobased products, and renewable chemicals. Please join us from April 17-20, 2016 in sunny San Diego for a week filled with high-level plenary and breakout sessions, One-on-One Partnering meetings, networking opportunities and more!