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 a highly-skilled, experienced and adaptable workforce; a cost-competitive location; and a pro-business environment, with local government committed to growing the sector, with financial incentives including grants for product development, employment, training and R&D, available to companies investing in the region.

Innovation and experience

Northern Ireland has a vibrant cluster of 250+ businesses, which are a mix of international investors and indigenous companies, who continue to grow and prosper in the region – a testament to NI’s compelling proposition.

Northern Ireland’s Life & Health Science sector also boasts an established reputation for innovation in the health technology sector and a strong scientific research base. NI’s two main universities, Queens University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) rank among the top 10 in the UK for bioscience research, with more than 1000 researchers in the region’s Centres of Excellence. Today, NI researchers are at the forefront of convergent technology in the areas of health data analytics, machine learning and diagnostics.

Areas of expertise

The region offers expertise across a broad range of Life & Health Sciences including Precision Medicine with focused research centres and companies and Medical Technology with dedicated research centres. Northern Ireland also has clinical specialisms within the areas of oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, respiratory and diabetes.

The region has a strong reputation within the sector, with expertise across a range of specialisms, including:

  • Precision medicine
  • Diagnostics
  • Med-tech
  • eHealth
  • Clinical trials
  • Big data
  • Health & well being
  • Healthcare
  • Research centres

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.

A strong scientific research base

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

Who's here

International investors successfully operating in the region include:

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

  • Almac Group

    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.

  • CV6 Therapeutics

    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.

  • Philips Healthcare

    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

    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 Ltd

    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.

  • Teva Pharmaceuticals Groups

    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.

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1,000+ researchers in Centres of Excellence


10% of the world's cholesterol tests are made in Northern Ireland

Mortar Board

13,000 people studying life and health sciences related subjects


Ulster University is a top five UK university for world-leading research in biomedical sciences and nursing


Northern Ireland is home to 2 of the UK’s largest diagnostics companies

Group of people

8,400 people employed in 170 companies

Number 1

Queen’s University is one of the UK's leading centres for research in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences

Health & Life Sciences

Life & Health Sciences directory