National Museum of Scotland, Science and Technology galleries, Edinburgh

Why Scotland

Edinburgh Thriving Sectors

Edinburgh has been an international centre of learning since the renaissance, a financial services hub since the 17th century, and a centre for science and technology since the industrial revolution.

Today, Edinburgh continues to pioneer in these fields, leading the world in Life Science research, Fin-Tech, and the development of renewable energy solutions. But Edinburgh has evolved as well, forging capabilities in modern sectors including digital technologies, film making and creative industries, and advanced robotics. A vibrant city, supported by truly world class research clusters in the Lothian region, Scotland's capital city is a global seat of discovery and enlightenment.

Human Health and Surgery

Edinburgh is a world leader in health research and practice. With a rich history of medical discovery dating back to the 1500s, the city is home to world leading universities and professional colleges, innovation centres and spin out businesses who combine in a unique ecosystem that brings together the latest research and pioneering new ideas. Edinburgh has helped the world discover a cure for tuberculosis, invented saline drips and helped introduce general anaesthetics. Today medical and surgical research is ever more specialised, homing in on acute issues that affect our health and wellbeing.

Edinburgh's health research community:

Software and Digital Technology

Edinburgh has a well-established yet exceptionally dynamic technology ecosystem. 17,000 people in the city work in software development, with thousands more working in allied technological fields. Multiple blue-chip international technology companies have a base in Edinburgh, including Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Fujitsu, Adobe, and Smartsheet. The Amazon Development Centre Scotland in Edinburgh is one of Amazon's flagship research facilities. The city is also home to the technology operations of companies including Tesco Bank, Canon Medical, Deliveroo, TSB, Natwest Group, Computershare, Lloyds Banking Group, and Deloitte.

Who Works in Edinburgh's Tech Tent?

  • Dedicated to the development and adoption of new technology across financial services - FinTech Scotland
  • Connecting investors and high-growth tech ventures, a unique event for the tech industry: Informatics Ventures
  • Scotland dedicated data innovation centre, at the heart of Scotland’s rapidly expanding data ecosystem: The Data Lab
  • A home-grown data conference, attracting the worlds brightest minds in data and technology: DataFest
  • A homegrown tech conference dedicated to digital technology and the power of innovative bold thinking: Turing Festival
  • The UK’s largest tech incubator, a place for collaboration, new ideas, and new businesses - Codebase

Renewable Energy and Engineering

Scotland is a global leader in renewable energy. Scotland’s potential resource is estimated at 60 gigawatts – enough to meet current peak winter demand many times over — and represents about 75% of the UK’s entire renewable resource and a sizeable proportion of the EU’s. Edinburgh is at the forefront of this burgeoning sector, thanks to the city’s expertise in developing new technologies and building on existing strengths. A wide range of national and international companies are based in and around the city, alongside world-leading research from institutions like the University of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt University and Edinburgh Napier University.

Edinburgh’s Energy Industry and Research Centres:


Edinburgh’s association with the arts has been celebrated for centuries. The Edinburgh Festival is the largest arts festival in the world. The city has a thriving film and television production industry, and hosts around half of Scotland’s production companies. There’s a large newspaper and publishing industry, a host of thriving marketing, PR, advertising and design agencies, and dozens of significant players in computer game and app design, fashion, crafts, music and the performing arts. Edinburgh is a place where creativity is not only apparent — it’s also welcomed, celebrated and encouraged to thrive.

Edinburgh’s Creative Talents:

Financial Services

Edinburgh has a long history of excellence in financial services dating back to the founding of the Bank of Scotland in 1695. Over 37,000 people work in financial services in Edinburgh, with a further 4,500 working in accounting, auditing, and tax consultancy. The sector is supported by a sophisticated supply chain, including a rapidly growing financial technology (fintech) sector and specialist financial services recruitment firms. The March 2020 Global Financial Centres Index - a comparison of the competitiveness of the world’s leading financial centres - ranked Edinburgh 17th worldwide (sixth in Europe).

Edinburgh’s Financial Services’ organisations:

Life Sciences

Edinburgh is at the centre of Europe’s life sciences community, with research facilities widely regarded as among the best in the world. It’s home to organisations like the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh BioQuarter and Pentlands Science Park, and leads the way in research and innovation in the fields of human and animal health, agritech and related technologies. Edinburgh is home to the worlds first ever cloned mammal, Dolly the Sheep, who was famously cloned at the Roslin Institute in 1996 – a world first, and an enduring symbol of the expertise in this life sciences cluster.

Edinburgh’s Life Sciences Community:

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Edinburgh has recently established a world leading reputation as a centre for advanced robotics. Built on a long tradition of excellence in engineering, electrical science, photonics and artificial intelligence, Edinburgh has been well placed to combine technologies in the development of autonomous machines. From the striking and impressive Valkyrie, a NASA robot being programmed at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, to small start-up companies looking to harness robotics in commercial settings, Edinburgh is helping develop this continuously developing sector.

Food and Drink

Food and drink exports from Scotland grew by £421 million in 2016, to a record £5.5 billion. Where does Edinburgh fit in? It’s home to the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation at Queen Margaret University. It’s also the birthplace of the Edinburgh Food Studio research hub, which works in collaboration with industry experts to keep up to date in all things food and drink related. Drawing on Scotland’s incredible natural larder, the food and drink in our capital is world class and can be found in all four corners of the globe. Whether visiting with taste buds, or looking for commercial opportunities, Edinburgh has everything you need.

Edinburgh’s Food & Drink Community: