New research by the Fraser Allander Institute, commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), reveals that the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries are growing in importance in Northern Ireland (NI).

The report tracked the contribution the sectors make to the NI economy, and found that currently they support 18,000 full-time jobs in the country.

It also found that employment in pharmaceuticals and medicines manufacturing increased by 6% since it was last recorded in 2015, with wider life sciences employment climbing by 12% in the same period.

The annual GVA, or the value of goods and services produced by a sector, generated by life sciences activity in NI totals over £1.1bn. Primarily, this is driven by the pharmaceutical industry which employs 13,900 people and produces a GVA of £910m.

The authors of the report also highlighted the global advances in biomedical research coming out of NI, including developments in cancer, cardiovascular disease and cystic fibrosis.

Alongside the machine industry, the life sciences industry is now the joint second-biggest spender on R&D in NI, investing a total £74m in 2018 according to the latest NISRA data.

“Science will help us beat this pandemic and good-quality jobs will help us deal with its economic fallout. Northern Ireland’s thriving life sciences sector provides both,”said Colette Goldrick, director of ABPI Northern Ireland.

“Public and private enterprises are already having a positive impact on the lives of people across the country and today’s report shows there is a solid foundation for growth in the future. The message is clear: our sector is flourishing,”she added.