The UK is a prime location to identify medical technology innovation and to research, develop and evaluate products and services in the world-renowned NHS.


The UK is home to one of the largest medical technology (Medtech) industries globally. It leads the world in research capabilities with universities that consistently attract global talent, building on an existing rich history of ground-breaking medical innovations.

One of the four key themes of the UK’s Life Sciences Vision is supporting the NHS to test, purchase and spread innovative technologies more effectively. This means cutting-edge science and innovations can be embedded widely across the NHS as early as possible, and rapidly adopted in the rest of the world.

Opportunity highlights


Understanding individuals’ genomes has been revolutionary in the development of new diagnostics and therapies supporting precision medicine. Combined with data and informatics capabilities, the UK is world leading in the application of genomics in personalised care.

Medical devices

From insulin pumps to robotic arms, medical devices play a crucial role in supporting our health and wellbeing throughout our lives.

Diagnostic imaging

Recent medical advancements are moving the sector towards greater usage of diagnostic imaging, closer to the patient. This enables more and better screening and faster therapeutic interventions.


The UK diagnostics sector is well positioned to capitalise on the growing market need for advanced diagnostics, offering increasing opportunities for innovative and effective care in a range of settings, from labs to point of care and at-home testing.

Digital health technologies

The technology boom of the last two decades has changed how software is used in medical devices. From AI analysis of images to smartphone monitoring systems, data-driven technology frees up clinical time and allows patients to better manage their own health.

Commercial maturity

About 30 million people live with a long-term health condition in the UK. With the upward trend set to continue, there is high demand for medical devices. As a result, the MedTech industry is undergoing dynamic growth as healthcare systems search for innovative solutions to address disease and medical conditions.

The UK is home to a significant commercial health sector – ranking first for the number of life sciences Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects among European comparator countries.

Investors can take advantage of a unique, collaborative biomedical system and a dedicated support infrastructure - with the NHS at its core. The NHS supply chain offers suppliers reduced points of sale, with a single route to market.

Key UK assets


The Midlands has a diverse and growing MedTech sector, backed by world-leading research institutions and large teaching hospitals. MedTech turnover for the Midlands reached £3 billion in 2019.

The region has significant strength in clinical trials infrastructure and expertise. The Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) and the Birmingham Centre for Clinical Trials (BCCT) are expert in the design and running of medical device trials, and high accrual rates.


Around 65% of all Welsh based life sciences companies are in the MedTech and diagnostic sub-sector. In the Cardiff capital region alone, 200 businesses work in medical diagnostics and devices. The sector has developed into established clusters of excellence, in high-growth markets. This includes:

  • in vitro and molecular diagnostics
  • single use technology
  • wound care

North of England

The region’s MedTech turnover reached £4.1bn in 2019 and a further £1.2bn for the supply chain. The North of England offers a wealth of opportunity to ambitious life science companies across the sector, including:

  • in vitro and molecular diagnostics
  • in vivo imaging
  • medical devices

South of England

The South of England is one of the largest life sciences clusters in the world, attracting world-class talent and businesses to conduct specialist research and develop ground-breaking medical technologies.

The region employs around 42,000 workers in the MedTech sector with a further 1,000 in the supply chain in over 1,100 companies.

R&D capability

The UK government provides significant funding for health R&D, spending £2.7 billion in 2019. This accounts for more than 20% of the UK’s R&D expenditure.

Total and per capita government funding for health research ranks second only to the US, among OECD countries. The sector is well placed to deliver technologies to help people live healthier for longer.

The UK is home to a number of MedTech centres of excellence that offer cutting-edge research and expertise.

They help companies to design, research and develop their MedTech solutions integrated with an active, at scale healthcare system. Its world-leading research ecosystem includes the following centres and infrastructure:

  • Medtech and In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs)
  • Artificial Intelligence and Diagnostics Centres
  • Health Data Research UK (HDR) UK Health Data Research Hubs

Business and government support

In the government’s R&D Roadmap, its long-term objectives for R&D are clear. The UK aspires to be a science superpower, investing in the science and research that will deliver economic growth and societal benefits across the UK for decades to come. This will build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow.

The Government’s UK Life Science Vision has set a 10-year strategy for the sector, to build on the successes of the UK’s COVID-19 response and accelerate delivery of innovations to patients.

The vision outlines seven critical Healthcare Missions that government, industry, the NHS, academia and medical research charities will work together on at speed to solve.

Case studies

Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics is a US molecular diagnostics company with a European regional office in London.

The company is currently working with the Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health and other partners in a collaboration studying the Leeds Fast Track Prostate Pathway.

Using Myriad’s prognostic test, Prolaris, for both clinical and cost outcomes, they’re able to determine if it has wider application in routine NHS practice.

Canon Medical

Canon Medical is a Japanese company that develops and manufactures diagnostic imaging systems and clinical laboratory systems. 

In 2018, Scottish Enterprise worked with Canon Medical’s European Research and Development Centre to provide an R&D grant of £1.9 million. It’s been used for the development of life sciences software - giving medical staff a single ‘cockpit’ view of patient information to better inform treatment decisions.