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Life and health sciences

Integrated and innovative healthcare

Northern Ireland is a prime location for life and health sciences businesses, thanks to a unique combination of talented people, world-class research and strong links between industry, academia and clinicians, in the commercialisation of innovative research.

With a long history in health innovation dating over 40 years to Professor Pantridge who pioneered the first portable defibrillator, to recent spin-out success from local universities, Queen's University and Ulster University.

The region is well connected and offers a highly-skilled, experienced and adaptable workforce; a cost-competitive location; and a pro-business environment, with local Government committed to support business growth. Recent government investment includes £1.3b which has been earmarked through City and Growth deals - offering exciting future opportunities for healthcare in Northern Ireland:

  • Centre for Digital Healthcare Technology (CDHT)
  • Institute of Research Excellence for Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH Health)
  • Global Innovation Institute (GII)
  • The Personalised Medicine Centre
  • Centre for Food and Drug Discovery

Read more about the City and Growth deals

Northern Ireland offers a single point of contact for companies and investors, HIRANI, an alliance of universities, healthcare providers and industry supporting growth of the Life & Health Sciences sector.

  • Vibrant cluster of 250+ businesses, international investors and indigenous companies, employing 18k. Exporting globally to over 140 countries.

  • Geographic advantage with time zone centrally located between major global markets. Dual market access to both the EU single market and GB.

  • Over 17 world-leading research centres with more than 1000 researchers.

  • Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University rank among the Top 10 in the UK for bioscience research. 

Areas of expertise

Precision medicine

Area of sector expertise

  • Biomarker discovery and validation
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Clinical diagnostics
  • Ideal location to develop, test, validate and commercialise innovative biomarker assays and precision diagnostics in an agile and collaborative life science environment.
  • Well established scientific research base with researchers at the forefront of technology in health data analytics.
  • Large cluster of companies within precision medicine capabilities across the drug development value chain helping shorten timelines and decrease resource requirement.
  • Access to an integrated healthcare system that is committed to the future of Precision Medicine.
  • HSC Northern Ireland is a participant in SAPHIRe, an EU Horizon 2020 funded project supporting implementation of Precision Medicine.
  • Precision Medicine Centre based at Queen’s University Belfast: clinical laboratory bringing together high-throughput genomics, digital pathology and big data analytics.

Pharma & Biotech

Area of sector expertise

  • Drug development
  • Biomarker discovery and validation
  • Biomedical research
  • Strong, connected and collaborative setting as global pharma companies such as Almac Group, Randox, Norbrook, TEVA and Terumo work alongside academia, health organisations and Government to maximise opportunities from research - manufacturing - sales.
  • Northern Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector has achieved strides in biomedical research, including developments in cancer, cardiovascular disease and cystic fibrosis research.
  • Pharmaceutical sector in Northern Ireland supports 7,800 FTE jobs and generates £310m in GVA.
  • Home to globally recognised companies such as Randox, Almac Group, TEVA and CV6 Therapeutics.

Clinical trials

Area of sector expertise

  • Statistics
  • Modeling
  • Digital health
  • Regulatory
  • Opportunity to target a relatively small population of 1.8m for clinical trials.
  • Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR) makes it possible to access digital health from cradle to grave.
  • Innovative companies offering statistics and modeling to support clinical trials using next generation stimulation and data analytics.
  • Strong integrated eco-system offering linkages between clinical, academia and industry.


Area of sector expertise

  • Research and development
  • Medical testing solutions
  • Clinical diagnostic tests
  • Respiratory
  • Oncology
  • Strong capability in the development of assay kits, biomarker discovery with a particular specialism in respiratory and oncology.
  • Ability to develop rapid molecular diagnostic tests within a short timeframe.
  • Strengths in data analytics and use of Artificial Intelligence.


Area of sector expertise

  • Innovative healthcare solutions
  • Non- invasive neurostimulation
  • Ventilation equipment
  • Neonatal and perioperative care
  • Internationally accredited companies involved in cutting-edge technologies to provide healthcare solutions / improvements.
  • Manufacturer location for wide-ranging novel medical devices targeting a range of health challenges including non-invasive neurostimulation products to ventilation equipment in neonatal and perioperative care.
  • Long history in health innovation dating back over 40 years.

Download the Northern Ireland MedTech brochure

Northern Ireland for foreign direct investment

Northern Ireland is an attractive place for investment in the life and health sciences sector thanks to a combination of factors including skills availability, excellent infrastructure, cost-effectiveness and a supportive business environment. To learn more visit our Invest in Northern Ireland page.

Please get in touch.  You can find a team in your region or fill in an enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.

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Get in touch

Connect with a member of our Life and Health Sciences team via LinkedIn.

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