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Scotland's chemical sciences facts

Vials being sorted at Axis Shield

Chemical sciences in Scotland

Latest stats and facts on Scotland's chemical sciences industry. Published April 2019.

Industry profile

Scotland’s chemical sciences sector covers all areas of chemical sciences, from

  • basic chemicals – such as ethylene and commodity polymers, to
  • intermediates and specialities, through to
  • pharma and agrochem active ingredients, such as vaccines and pesticides

With strong expertise in industrial biotechnology and continuous manufacturing, Scotland has been leading the way in innovative sustainable chemical manufacturing.

Female scientist at Axis Shield

Scottish chemical sciences stats

235 companies

0.1% of Scotland's total companies (2018)

11,750 employment

0.5% of Scotland's total employment (2017)

£1.4bn GVA

1.1% of Scotland's GVA (2016)

£3.9bn exports

12.1% of Scotland's total international exports (2017)

£179m R&D

14.3% of Scotland's BERD (2017)

Staff and manufacturing and production process taken at Axis Shield, Dundee. Axis Shield specialise in the development of proprietary diagnostic testing.

Skills and talent

Some of the world’s leading chemical companies like FujiFilm, GlaxoSmithKline, Ineos and Syngenta have Scottish operations. They sit alongside a growing number of small and medium sized businesses in the sector, working in a multitude of technologies.

These businesses benefit not only from the talented workforce and transport infrastructure, but also from the access to our world-renowned academic institutions, and Scotland’s continuous drive for innovation.

Chemistry is a vital science, core to many other sectors and one that underpins fields as diverse as medicine and the energy industry.

Company insight

Chemical sciences companies surveyed between January and March 2019
Performance last 6 months
  • 50% reported increased turnover
  • 30% reported improved profitability
Expectations next 6 months
  • 50% expect to grow exports
  • 30% expect to add staff
Masked technician at workbench at Axis Shield, Dundee

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