Edinburgh is reinforcing its position as a world-leader in medical research, life sciences innovation and entrepreneurship, with a significant number of health organisations choosing the city as a host destination for events and conferences this autumn.  

In 2018-2019, the business tourism team at Marketing Edinburgh, supported 37 health conferences, bringing 18,321 delegates to the city.  This accounts for almost half (44%) of business tourism revenue generate over that period of time.

These figures reinforce Edinburgh’s reputation as a pioneering hub for medical science, and therefore the perfect destination to host events and conferences in this field. It also strengthens Edinburgh’s position in the International Congress Association (ICCA) World Rankings; 27th in the world, second only to London in the UK for hosting international conferences.  

Some of the conferences scheduled for the remainder of 2019 include International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health (Edinburgh International Conference Centre, October), Compassionate Mind Foundation’s International Conference (Royal College of Physicians, October) and World Extreme Medicine (Dynamic Earth, November).

The world-renowned international research network, One Health Platform views the city as leaders in the field, choosing Edinburgh over other global cities as the host destination for the 6thWorld One Health Congress (June, 2020).  

Lisa Boden, co-chair for the 6th World One Health Congress, together with John Mackenzie, said: “Edinburgh is a leading global hub for medical research and innovation, its Universities attracting some of the world’s best talent in the field. We’re very much looking forward to working with the city’s research institutes, the Scottish Government, Marketing Edinburgh and the EICC to share knowledge, collaborate and hopefully further our cause: to ultimately make a different to society and the lives of people globally.”

This significant win, a collaboration across Marketing Edinburgh, VisitScotland Business Events, Scottish Government, University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, will deliver an estimated £3.3million for the local economy and presents an opportunity for industry experts from across the globe to collaborate and share knowledge.  

Amanda Ferguson, Head of Business Tourism at Marketing Edinburgh is delighted to see Edinburgh reinforce its position as a first-class destination for this sector to meet and innovate. She said: “It’s the aim of the business events campaign, ‘Make It Edinburgh’, to showcase the Scottish capital’s centres of excellence, our Life Sciences sector being one of these. 

“With esteemed and influential events such as World One Health Congress choosing Edinburgh as a host city, there is an opportunity to not only showcase and share our expertise, butto allow the sector to grow and flourish.  Greater expertise and entrepreneurship in health and life sciences ultimately attracts more talent and investment, delivering economic growth through innovation.”

Dr Neil Anderson, University of Edinburgh, was a key member of the bid team. He said: “We are thrilled to host the Sixth World One Health Congress in Edinburgh in 2020, welcoming international health scientists and professionals, opinion leaders and policy makers from the One Health community to Scotland’s capital.  As a global facing university, we have vibrant One Health and global health partnerships nationally and internationally, and we look forward to showcasing the world of Scotland’s world-leading collective of research institutes, and engaging with other stakeholders to improve the health of people, animals and the environment.”

Edinburgh’s pioneering work in Life Sciences places the city on a global stage. Conferences provide the ideal opportunity to present research success stories to a global audience, encouraging collaboration and further innovation.  Examples of Edinburgh’s strengths in research in this field include:

●     Edinburgh BioQuarter, has been awarded almost £1million from the Medical Research Council to enable testing of immunotherapy to improve the quality of life of cancer patients undergoing treatment.  The ‘treatment’ called bermekimab, could help with improving outcomes specifically in lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancer, including reducing symptoms such as weight loss and decreased mobility. 

●     Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies has recently carried out research suggesting a combination of antibiotics and a drug used to treat kidney infections could effectively treat superbugs such as MRSA and limit the impact of antibiotic resistance. 

●     Earlier this year, the Roslin Innovation Centre, shared details of a study which could see Parkinson’s patients benefit from insights gleaned by studies of tropical zebrafish.  The research revealed how key brain cells that are damaged in people with Parkinson’s can be regenerated.