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Where were the UK longevity companies and researchers at Dublin summit?
While attending Longevity Summit Dublin 2023 was a great experience (highlights here), it was noticeable that the UK was not present en masse. Just to be clear, Dublin is in the Republic of Ireland which is not part of the UK, but there is no similar longevity conference held in the UK so this should have attracted the best of the country’s researchers and companies.
Just to demonstrate how near Dublin is – the map below shows that it is nearer to London than both Northern Ireland and Scotland, countries which are part of the UK.
Image generated using freemaptools.com
Speakers in numbers
So, let’s look at how many people from the UK were up on stage. On the face of it, it doesn’t look too bad – out of 68 speakers, 7 were from the UK, so about 10% of the speakers, only beaten by US representatives.
But, given the UK has the 6th largest economy in the world, that does give us an advantage over most other countries. Here’s how those figures look when adjusted for GDP. Down to 4th place…
And it gets even worse when considering the country's population – now we’re relegated to 6th position…
Singapore is doing really well – no surprise with heavyweights at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and a government policy to increase healthspan by 3 years over the next decade.
Ireland performs well in the last two charts, though of course they have home team advantage :) But it would get a lot, lot worse for the UK if I adjusted for proximity to the event!
Let's go longevity UK!
There are some fantastic ageing scientists in the UK (many of whom will be attending the British Society for Research on Ageing’s conference next week – but this is more fundamental research than longevity) but few that get international acclaim. UK Biobank, obviously, is based here – but researchers from around the world use its valuable data. Likewise, there are a growing number of longevity companies which struggle to garner attention. Note that Altos Labs has a significant presence in Cambridge, but it is clearly an American company.
So let’s hope that the UK can catch up and really start making an impression in the longevity industry – it’s crucial both ethically, so that we contribute to saving lives, and economically, as this is going to grow into the largest industry the world has ever seen.
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Highlights from Longevity Summit Dublin 2023
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