Skills

Life sciences companies moving to the North East can access a wealth of talent from our existing workforce and university cohorts.

There are 7,000 people employed in the life sciences sector and the region’s wide skills base ensures investors can recruit and maintain the most highly skilled staff.

With over 116,000 skilled workers in the manufacturing sector, companies in the region have a large and talented workforce for pharmaceutical manufacturing. In fact, pharmaceutical manufacturing companies located in the region report fewer staff shortages than in other parts of the UK. Our loyal workforce gives manufacturing companies the reassurance that they can recruit, train and retain staff and get a return on investment.

The North East’s five universities offer over 125 undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to the life sciences sector. Our universities have strong broad expertise in the disciplines that underpin life sciences, including robotics, data, manufacturing, artificial intelligence and immersive technology. We also have the supporting facilities (in universities and specialist centres) to help investors widen their applications, processes and market opportunities.

Our five universities each have complementary specialisms, providing a holistic academic and research network for businesses and investors.

Newcastle University and Durham University are also part of the prestigious Russell Group, a network of research universities across the UK.

Each of the universities provide a research base and level of specialist expertise in different disciplines that are crucial to growing the health and life sciences sector in the region. Key components include:

  • 50% of biological sciences research at Newcastle University was rated four stars in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, meaning it is world-leading. This was also the case for 51% of research in psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience and 38% in clinical medicine
  • The Witty Review rated North East universities in the top 20 for 11 subjects including life sciences and regenerative medicine
  • Between (2008 – 2018) £92 million from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council £122 million from the Medical Research Council
  • North East Health Trusts are leading the UK for their involvement in clinical research, with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust being one of the highest ranking over the last 7 years, with more specialist services than any other group of hospitals outside of London.

University specialisms

Durham University is home to the Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology (DCBT), a one-stop-shop for bioimaging research that brings together expertise across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and computing science disciples. It applies techniques such as instrumentation, chemical probes and visualisation to real biological challenges.

Newcastle University ranks in the world’s top 100 for life sciences research, with academic centres of excellence in age-related diseases, personalised medicine and digital healthcare. The university has several institutes and centres of excellence including:

  • The Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR)
  • Campus for Ageing and Vitality
  • NIHR Innovation Observatory
  • NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre
  • Newcastle Clinical Research Facility (CRF)
  • Institute of Genetic Medicine (IGM)
  • Biosciences Institute
  • Translational and Clinical Research Institute
  • Population Health Sciences Institute.