Glasgow’s Lighthouse Lab creates lasting skills legacy

Economic Transformation in our Nation

Universities have a strong culture of delivery which aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. We’ve curated a set of 19 stories to show how universities support people, businesses, industries and Scotland’s regions towards economic transformation.

The Lighthouse Laboratory and its legacy in Govan

The Lighthouse Laboratory was formed on the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic as a UK-wide testing centre based at the University of Glasgow’s campus at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan.

From May 2020, the Lab worked with BioClavis, an existing industrial partner based in the University’s Clinical Innovation Zone, having relocated to Glasgow from California, to bring industry-standard processes and efficiencies, including the use of robotics. This allowed the testing capacity of the Lighthouse to be increased significantly.

As well as existing University staff, the lab also created employment and upskilling opportunities for many people locally and across the region, with over 800 jobs at its peak – creating a lasting legacy of skills as a valuable resource to Scotland’s life sciences industry.  The Lab created jobs at all levels, including entry-level jobs, and the University worked with the FE sector and Skills Development Scotland, to help skill and retrain people from other sectors and providing valuable industry-facing experience for laboratory scientists which has helped create a pipeline of highly trained staff that will be essential for the University’s longer-term vision of growing a sustainable life sciences industry cluster in Govan.

The University relied on both public and private partners to make this possible, and worked in collaboration with drug discovery service company BioAscent, the University of Dundee, the Scottish Government and the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute. Funding was awarded by the UK government as part of the national response to the pandemic.

The University of Glasgow is determined that the Lab’s legacy will be of continued benefit to the local area, as well as to the wider city and regional economy.  The lab and its legacy are part of the University’s wider strategy in Govan to create sustainable economic impact through job creation, skills development and its ongoing relationship with industry partners and the NHS. On the same site as the hospital, the University is developing the Living Laboratory for precision medicine, a £91 million project aimed at bringing healthcare innovation and economic regeneration to Govan, Glasgow and beyond, made possible with £38 million funding from UKRI’s Strength in Places fund.

The ongoing legacy of the Lighthouse Lab as set out above will be taken forward as part of the University’s involvement in the Glasgow Riverside Innovation District partnership. The upskilling and economic regeneration activity undertaken across the life course of the Lab will be pivotal in supporting the University’s long-term vision of creating a sustainable life sciences industry cluster in Govan, supporting further job creation and developing infrastructure which supports the economic development of the area.

Key Points:

National Strategy for Economic Transformation theme: Productive businesses and regions, skilled workforce, a fairer more equal society

Institution: University of Glasgow

Location: Glasgow

  • The lab created employment and upskilling opportunities, with over 800 jobs at its peak.
  • Glasgow University is developing the Living Laboratory for precision medicine. A £91 million project will support economic regeneration in Govan.