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BioScience Boom in Hertfordshire


In 2011, the 39 UK Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) set out to accelerate economic growth across the country. In their recently published Strategic Economic Plan, Hertfordshire LEP set out a vision that by 2030, Hertfordshire will be the leading economy at the core of the UK’s Golden Triangle (the area between London, Oxford and Cambridge) prioritising the growth of its scientific and research capabilities. The UK has one of the strongest and most productive Life Sciences industries in the world and Hertfordshire is a leading contributor of this success story.

A Leading UK Life Sciences Contributor

A growing number of established Life Science firms are relocating to Hertfordshire and LEP Chair John Gourd explained why: “Our position in the Golden Triangle leaves us perfectly placed to attract Life Science investment. Most LEPs want to create a BioScience cluster in their area but we already have one and are proud to boast the highest concentration of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the UK. It is important that we at the LEP capitalise on our advantage as the home of the UK’s pharmaceutical industry and begin coordinating investment. We must ensure that the area continues to attract high growth firms whilst keeping our existing business base happy.”

2.5x more scientists than the UK average’

The county is also renowned for its highly skilled workforce – with a remarkable 40% of its working age population being qualified to degree level or above – and has over 2.5 times more Scientists and Researchers than the national average. The LEP will enable and support the convergence between engineering and Life Sciences and will encourage collaborative working on the development of the next generation of medical devices and technologies.

It sounds ambitious but Hertfordshire is building from a position of strength. GSK, MSD, Eisai, DDD, and Sigma Pharmaceuticals all use the county as their base, manufacturing hundreds of everyday proprietary and over the counter medicines to be exported around the world. Hertfordshire also boasts a number of significant medical device companies such as Stanmore Implants and Smiths Industries, all contributing to the area’s position as the centre of the UK’s BioScience cluster.

Contrary to its sedate reputation, Hertfordshire is a crucible for high growth companies. The LEP is positioning the county as the engine room of the UK’s intellectual infrastructure where world class businesses will power the UK’s knowledge economy as ideas are converted into high value products and services that can be sold across the globe.

Centre of the UK bioscience cluster

Hertfordshire is home to both the Stevenage BioScience Catalyst (the UK’s first and only Bioscience Open Innovation Science Park) and Rothamsted Research (the oldest agricultural research centre in the world). These are unique assets where innovation is deeply engrained into the ethos and raison d’être of the centres.

BioScience Catalyst Chief Executive and LEP Board member Martino Picardo said: “At the Catalyst we are driving new levels of collaboration between SMEs, multinationals and academia. Among our tenants we count Cambridge University, Johnson and Johnson, UCL and GE Healthcare as proof of our ability to attract high end research and industrial capability. With such a diverse range of firms in the county, Hertfordshire is best placed to address the convergence of technologies in the medical field.”

You can find more about Hertfordshire LEP at or on twitter @hertslep.