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Life and Health Sciences

Life and Health Sciences

Similar to that of the business events industry in Northern Ireland, the thriving life and health sciences sector benefits from a strong, collaborative approach between industry, academia and clinicians. The sector also boasts an established reputation for innovation in the health technology sector and a strong scientific research base.

Northern Ireland’s two main, multi-campus universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University are ranked among the top 10 in the UK for bioscience research. An extensive portfolio of accredited degree and research programmes is on offer for students and academics to gain expertise across a broad range of disciplines. Our researchers lead the way and are at the forefront of convergent technology in the areas of health data analytics, machine learning and diagnostics. Queen’s University have also been selected recently as one of only 17 UK funding recipients to develop a new initiative to enhance the life sciences sector. This Consortium has the potential to positively impact patient care by discovering new ways of diagnosing cancer and other conditions, both locally and globally, as well as driving economic growth in Northern Ireland through innovation and the development of skills.

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Research Expertise

The region offers expertise across a broad range of life and health sciences including precision medicine, medical technology, diagnostics, eHealth and clinical trials with many research centres and companies in this field based locally. Northern Ireland also has clinical specialisms within the areas of oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, respiratory and diabetes. Life and health sciences research centres based in Northern Ireland include:

    Precision medicine


    Many global players in the life and health sciences field including Teva UK choose Northern Ireland as their headquarters or European base due to its cost effectiveness and the availability of highly skilled workers.

    Randox, the UK’s largest diagnostic company is indigenous to Northern Ireland. Over 95% of its products are exported worldwide for use in hospitals, forensic toxicology and veterinary laboratories. A world leader in the vitro-diagnostics industry for almost 40 years, Randox responded quickly in the fight against COVID-19 and has since played a key role in the UK’s multi-partner national testing programme.

    Connections between academia and industry are supported in Northern Ireland’s life and health sciences sector. CV6 Therapeutics, a Californian based company focused on the development of novel therapies has recently established a presence in Belfast to work on a research and development project in partnership with the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.

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    Conferences hosted at ICC Belfast

    Previous life and health science events hosted by ICC Belfast include the Royal College of Nurses Annual Congress, the Association of Surgeons in Training Annual Conference and the European Congress on Personalised Medicine. Organisers, delegates and exhibitors alike are always impressed by the joined-up approach adopted by industry and academia when attending a life and health sciences event in Northern Ireland. ICC Belfast will proudly play host to an upcoming NCRI Cancer Conference when it is held in Northern Ireland for the first time. In addition to the networking opportunities offered, the NCRI educational programme provides a great overview of cancer research from basic cell biology through to clinical trials and survivorship.

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    Bring it to Belfast

    Securing and successfully delivering life and health sciences events for Belfast is key to our economic development. In addition to the support provided by ICC Belfast, the team at Visit Belfast is also on hand to make connections on the ground for organisers - from potential speakers and sponsors to local ambassadors who can help with programme ideas and content.

    “The quality of food at ICC Belfast is absolutely outstanding. You and your team have done us proud, I can certainly say that it is the best food I have ever eaten at a conference and delegates had so many compliments on the food as well.”

    Gemma Humm, Past President Association of Surgeons in Training