The Economic Impact of the Roslin Institute

The Roslin Institute is a world-leading centre for animal science research and has been creating a more sustainable world through fundamental research in animal genetics and health since its formation in 1993.

BiGGAR Economics was commissioned to assess the economic impact of the institution in 2021. Our study found that research carried out at the Roslin Institute contributed almost £20 billion annually to the global economy, largely through productivity improvements in agriculture and aquaculture. It also contributed to the UK, Scottish and regional economies.

Impact in Context

This economic impact represents a significant return on investment for both the UK and Scottish Governments. It received £24.1 million in public funding. Therefore:

  • for every £1 of public funding received, the Roslin Institute generated £13.50 GVA for the UK economy;
  • for every £1 of public funding received, the Roslin Institute generated £3.40 GVA for the Scottish economy;
  • for each person it directly employed, the Roslin Institute supported 3.7 jobs across the UK; and
  • for each person it directly employed, the Roslin Institute supported 2.9 jobs across Scotland.

Agricultural Productivity

The Roslin Institute’s research programmes contributed to global productivity improvements in agriculture and aquaculture. The route to impact for this productivity gain lies in commercialisation of the Institute’s fundamental research through strategic relationships with some of the world’s largest genetics and animal health companies, ensuring that Roslin’s intellectual property finds its way into the gene pool of global populations of livestock. The cumulative nature of these productivity increases reflects the fact that genomic research undertaken by the Roslin Institute decades ago is still having an impact today.

The economic value of this contribution is difficult to determine with a high degree of accuracy and so the potential contribution of the Roslin has been presented as a range in this analysis. All points within the range represent a significant impact. Globally, the lower bound of the range would represent an impact of £12.5 billion and the upper bound would equate to £25.0 billion. The range average suggests that the scientific advances made at the Roslin Institute generated;

  • £31 million GVA in Scotland;
  • £248 million GVA in the UK; and
  • £18.8 billion of GVA globally in 2019/20.

The impact of the Roslin Institute varied across different sub-sectors of agriculture. This was based on the relative genetic variation of these sub-sectors and the specialisms of the Roslin. Our analysis found that the largest contribution was made to the broilers (chicken) market. The mid-range estimate of the contribution that the Roslin made to this sub-sector was £9,360 million in 2019/20.

Future Impacts

The study also considered the potential impact of the Roslin Institute in the future. This found that the increasing role of genomic selection in driving productivity improvements across agriculture will lead to an increase in the share of global agricultural productivity improvements that could be attributed to the Roslin. Over time, these incremental and cumulative benefits will result in the impact of the Roslin growing beyond where it is today.

Further Reading

More information on the economic impact of the Roslin Institute can be found through the links below: