Life and Health Sciences

Life and health sciences

Northern Ireland has a thriving life and health sciences sector that benefits from a strong collaborative approach between industry, academia and clinicians.

The region offers expertise across precision medicine, clinical trials and digital health. Northern Ireland also has clinical specialisms within the areas of oncology, cardiology, opthamology, respiratory and diabetes.


Northern Ireland offers

Talented people

Around 13,000 people study life and health sciences related subjects at university and Northern Ireland is home to the UK’s first BSc and MSc courses in stratified medicine.

Government works closely with industry and academia to ensure the workforce is successfully equipped with the appropriate skills. Read more information about Northern Ireland's talented people

Government support

The region has a low risk, pro-business environment with a local government committed to growing the life & health sciences sector. For companies investing in the region, financial incentives can include grants for product development, employment, training (both pre and during employment) and R&D. Read more about government support

A cost-effective location

Operating costs in Northern Ireland are on average around 20-30% lower than the rest of the UK and Europe. For a 50 person life sciences R&D centre, salary costs in Northern Ireland are up to 50% lower than locations in the USA. Read more information about competitive operating costs

High quality clinical data and materials

Northern Ireland’s population base of 1.8m each benefit from fully integrated health and social care provision utilising the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR), a unique resource in the UK. It represents a single source of patient data that can be easily shared across the entire patient journey.

An attractive tax regime

Northern Ireland's current rate of corporation tax is 20% and this will reduce to 12.5%, making it the joint lowest in Western Europe. Companies can also access the UK’s R&D tax credit and patent box schemes.

A strong scientific research base

Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast rank among the top 10 in the UK for bioscience research.

Research centres include:

  • Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology
  • Centre for Stratified Medicine
  • Connected Health Innovation Centre
  • Centre for Experimental Medicine
  • The Intelligent Systems Research Centre
  • Nanotechnology and Integrated Bio Engineering Centre
  • Northern Ireland Molecular Pathology Laboratory
  • Administrative Data Research Centre Northern Ireland
  • Biomedical Sciences Research Institute (BMSRI)

Who's here


The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services globally to companies within the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. The services range from R&D, biomarker discovery and development, API manufacture, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IXRS technology (IVRS/IXRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture and companion diagnostic development.


Californian based CV6 Therapeutics has established a presence in Belfast to work on a highly innovative R&D project. The project will see CV6 partner with the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s to develop a new drug with the potential to make chemotherapy more effective.


In June 2016, Philips announced that it had acquired PathXL, a Northern Ireland company that offers a range of digital pathology software applications to research and education segments of pathology and bio-pharma markets.

PathXL’s image analysis and tissue pathology software will complement Philips’ Digital Pathology Solutions offering, and help expand the business’ leadership in this fast-growing field.


Randox is a global leader in healthcare diagnostics and is the UK’s largest diagnostic company, exporting over 95% of its products worldwide. Randox products and services are used in hospitals, clinical, research and molecular laboratories, food testing, forensic toxicology, life sciences, and veterinary laboratories.


Terumo BCT Inc. is a global leader in blood component and cellular technologies. The company employs around 250 people in Northern Ireland and comprises two distinct business areas – external sterilised solutions and internal disposables & solutions.

The Northern Ireland site is the only FDA approved site within the corporation and currently the only site to manufacture the blood bag sets outside Japan.


Warner Chilcott and Nicobrand are part of the Teva Pharmaceuticals Group. Warner Chilcott are a specialty pharmaceutical company currently focused on the gastroenterology, women’s healthcare, dermatology and urology segments of the North American and Western European pharmaceuticals market. Nicobrand manufacture pharmaceutical grade nicotine.

Find out more about preparing for Brexit in the Life & Health Sciences sector.

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