Scotland’s industrial biotechnology sector anticipated to surpass £1 billion turnover milestone by 2025

Updated National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology outlines new ambitions for Scotland’s bioeconomy, including reaching a target of 220 companies operating in the sector and more than 4,000 employees by 2025

Scotland’s industrial biotechnology community is exceeding growth expectations and is on track to achieve annual turnover of £1.2bn by 2025, according to a refreshed strategy being launched at the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre’s (IBioIC) annual conference today (June 6th).

The updated National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology outlines new ambitions for Scotland’s bioeconomy, including reaching a target of 220 companies operating in the sector and more than 4,000 employees by 2025, reflecting the increasingly important role of industrial biotechnology in the transition to net zero.

Updates to the figures follow analysis from IBioIC that showed businesses active in industrial biotechnology accounted for more than £790 million in turnover during 2020, increasing from £189 million in 2012 – prior to the launch of the first iteration of the strategy and the formation of the innovation centre. Initial targets of the National Plan were set at £900m turnover and 2,500 employees by 2025.

Ivan McKee will present the updated vision for the sector to attendees at IBioIC’s conference taking place in Glasgow today, where around 300 experts from industry and academia will gather to discuss how sustainable development of the bioeconomy can secure Scotland’s path to net zero.

Industrial biotechnology is already supporting the creation of more sustainable materials, consumer goods and pharmaceuticals by using bio-based alternatives to petrochemicals, maximising the re-use of by-products and minimising waste in the process.

IBioIC connects world-leading industry with outstanding academic expertise to support companies to bring new bio-based processes and products to the global market. Almost £30 million of additional industry investment has been generated as a direct result of innovation activities to date, contributing to more than 3,000 high-value green jobs.

Mark Bustard, chief executive of IBioIC, said: “Reaching net zero is going to be a big challenge for Scotland, but it also presents opportunities to embrace biotechnology as a means of getting there. We are already making great progress with the bioeconomy in Scotland, which has grown considerably over the past decade – so much so that we now have new ambitious, but achievable, targets to work towards.

“By supporting businesses to embrace more sustainable products, materials and processes through industrial biotechnology, we can secure local supply chains, create green jobs, and fuel economic growth. However, with a climate emergency upon us, we need to do more and do it quickly: the new National Plan sets out some of the required steps to make that a reality.

“Scotland has a world-class innovation ecosystem and could become the go-to destination for scaling up bioeconomy businesses and manufacturing bio-based products and materials. Further growth will require action from every part of the bioeconomy community – from developing skills and investment in local scale-up infrastructure to a supportive policy and regulatory framework.

“With sustainability at the top of many businesses’ agendas, the industrial biotechnology community is well-placed to embrace the opportunities that presents, but it also needs support to rise to the challenge ahead.”

Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Mr McKee said: “It is encouraging that Scotland’s vibrant industrial biotechnology sector is ahead of schedule to meet targets set out in Scotland’s original National Plan and has ambitious new goals for growth.

“Our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, launched earlier this year, sets out our plans for the next decade and highlights industrial biotechnology as a current and future key industry for Scotland that is fostering innovative and sustainable ways of using biological processes.

“This includes identifying new market opportunities where Scotland has potential to develop industries like industrial biotechnology by building on our technological strengths.”

Suzanne Sosna, director of economic opportunities and climate at Scottish Enterprise, added: “This refreshed strategy will help achieve Scotland’s economic and net zero ambitions, while creating high quality jobs and accelerating the growth of Scotland’s biotechnology sector.

“Scottish Enterprise is delighted to continue supporting the sector, the companies and the pioneers that will innovate and create the next ambitious phase of Scotland’s bioeconomy.”

To read the updated National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology, visit:


IBioIC, press release, 2022-06-06.


Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC)
Scottish Enterprise


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