UK’s health & life science sector: a magnet for scientific & medical meetings

Monday 09 November 2020

approximate the DNA molecule on a blue background

The UK’s health and life science sector is a world leader for bold, cutting edge scientific research, making it a leading choice for scientific and medical meetings and events.

The largest of its kind in Europe, the UK is home to over 5,800 life science companies. With an impressive track record of scientific breakthroughs, get an insight into this thriving sector in the UK and how it is evolving to be at the forefront of global healthcare, including the effort against COVID-19.

Life science

The UK has more medical products in development than any other country in Europe, generating a turnover of £74 billion. A magnet for funding, with £80 billion research and development backing pledged over the next ten years, destinations across the UK are excelling in the life science sector.

Cardiff, Wales

The city of Cardiff, Wales, UK

Life and health sciences employ 17,000 people in Cardiff, working in areas such as pharmaceutical services, regenerative medicine and medical technology. Cardiff is one of the leading cities in the UK when it comes to employment in the manufacture of irradiation, electro medical and electrotherapeutic equipment, medical and dental instruments, supplier and pharmaceutical preparations. 

Research expertise in life sciences across Wales is brought together by the Life Science Research Network led by Cardiff University in collaboration with over 300 research partners.

The city is also home to Life Science Hub Wales, based in Cardiff Bay, a nerve centre for academic and healthcare organisations, expert advisors, clinical and funding organisations. The Hub seeks to stimulate interaction, innovation, networking and collaboration, linking ideas and commercialisation and providing a commercially-driven resource for the sector.

With this innovative sector at its core and home to a plethora of world-class venues, Cardiff and South Wales are leading destinations for your future events.

Liverpool, North of England

Exterior view of the Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head, Liverpool Waterfront, Merseyside, UK.

This northern city is a pioneer in life sciences, with specialisms in infectious disease and tropical medicine. The city is home to the most specialist hospitals and health centre in the UK outside of London, including the Centre of Excellence in Infectious Disease Research (CEIDR).

The renowned Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was Britain’s first when it opened in 1899. Home to more than 8,000 core life science students, Liverpool has the largest concentration of bio-manufacturing in Europe.

The Faculty of Health & Life Science at the University of Liverpool is one of the UK's leading centres for health and life science research and educations. They are the only organisation of its kind to offer scientific and clinical education that spans a full range of biosciences, clinical medicine and health sciences. 

Discover how this contemporary city can enhance your future scientific events and conferences, and explore its state-of-the-art convention facilities on our dedicated Liverpool page.

London, South of England

City skyline at night and the Thames, London, Greater London

London has a long history as a centre for advancement in medicine and biology. Today it forms a global hub for life sciences and one of the leading destinations for business events in the UK.

With a unique ecosystem combining a rich network of world-class universities, leading research centres, healthcare providers, medical charities, innovative small businesses and global industry players, London’s life science sector is highly attractive for investment.

Life science initiatives across the capital include the London Caner Hub, The Cube and the Imperial College London’s White City campus. The Francis Crick Institute brings together 1,500 scientists and support staff, with a focus on finding new ways to treat, diagnose and prevent a range of illnesses.

With this world class expertise at its finger tips combined with over 1,000 venues to choose from and a comprehensive transport network, this capital city is leading the way in scientific events. Find out more on the London city page.

Glasgow, Scotland 

SEC, Glasgow - aerial shot showing SSE Hydro, SEC Armadillo and SEC Centre

Renowned for world-leading research in life sciences, engineering and technology, Glasgow hosts more international delegates than any other UK city outside of London.

Since the 18th century, Glasgow has been a major contributor to medical innovation, being home to the UK’s first female medical professor, Dame Louise McIlroy, and the world’s first bone graft and successful removal of a brain tumour.

Today, Glasgow is home to the largest medical physics research division in the world, one of Europe’s largest hospitals (the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital) and the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, the UK’s most advanced NHS cancer centre.

Glasgow’s medical and life sciences conference business is thriving, predicted to contribute £63 million to the local economy by 2022. 

A cultural and academic powerhouse, Glasgow is a leading destination when it comes to hosting large conferences and conventions. Find out how your next event can be transformed on our dedicated Glasgow page



The UK is a prime location to research, develop and evaluate MedTech products and services in one of the world’s best healthcare systems, the National Health Service (NHS). A test bed for global market development with a dedicated infrastructure, the UK is home to number of destinations that specialise in this area:

Birmingham, Central England

 The centre of Birmingham city, the landmarks the Library of Birmingham, piazza, business and retail centre, and BT Tower.

Home to more MedTech companies than any other UK region, the West Midlands sits at the forefront of medical advancement. By pioneering the use of X-ray imaging, Birmingham’s John Hall-Edwards kick-started a whole new field of medical science. He was the first medical professional to use radiation during a surgical operation and took the first ever X-ray image of a human spine.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham was the first hospital outside London to use the radiotherapy machine Cyberknife, which uses robots to target radiation on hard-to-reach tumours with 0.1mm precision.

The pacemaker has transformed the lives of patients with heart rate conditions around the world. The technology was the result of landmark research by heart surgeon Leon Abrams and electronic engineer Ray Lightwood, both alumni of the University of Birmingham.

With Birmingham remaining at the forefront of industry for centuries, there is so much that can be achieved when you meet here. Find out more about this enviable location at the heart of the UK on its dedicated city page.

Cambridge, Central England

 View of New Court and the Bridge of Sighs over the River Cam from the Kitchen Bridge at St. John's College

Cambridge has become a major business hub over the last 50 years, particularly in the MedTech sector.

It is home to the third largest life science cluster in the world and is the starting point for the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor – a city partnership designed to grow the east of England’s reputation as a globally important innovation cluster for life sciences and medicine.

The University of Cambridge, is renowned for creating deep, difficult and disruptive technologies. Its mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. Some 107 Nobel Prize winners are affiliated to the University of Cambridge, 15 from the last decade.

Cambridge is leading the way in innovation, research, science and technology. With its strong scientific roots combined with its historical charm and academic excellence, it is a leading destination for events.


Advanced Therapies and UK Clinical Research

With 70 companies developing Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) and 26 manufacturing facilities, the UK has the largest advanced therapies community in Europe. It is also home to one of the largest number of products in both preclinical and clinical pipelines.

Home to over 500 new biotechnology-based drugs and 600 innovative pharmaceutical product candidates, leading cities from across the UK are becoming experts in this field, including:  

Leeds, North of England

Athena Rising Mural in Leeds, England

One of the biggest National Health Service trusts in the country, Leeds Teaching Hospital offers a range of both general and specialist hospital services and is home to a global centre of excellence for Digital Pathology, scanning up to 250,000 clinical samples per year.

The national institute for health data science, Health Data Research UK is funding DATA-CAN. Researchers in Leeds are leading the way in involving patients and the public in the design and running of the project from the outset. This is ensuring that patients have a decisive say how their de-identified health data is used for research.

Steeped in industrial history and home to four leading universities, get to know more about this inspiring conference setting that brings together diverse minds.

Aberdeen, Scotland

P&J Live convention centre, Aberdeen

A custom-built institute, the Suttie Centre provides state-of-the-art facilities for medical researchers and students. Modern teaching of anatomy and medically-related sciences links the University of Aberdeen directly with the regional NHS. This academic venue is also home to the Centre of Genome-Enabled Biology & Medicine, the Mass Spectrometry and Analytical facility, Aberdeen proteomics Facility and Aberdeen Biomedical Imagine Centre

A major hub for international conventions and business events, Aberdeen is making strides in becoming one of the leading cities in this influential sector. Discover the possibilities for your future medical events on the Aberdeen city page.


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