Life Sciences Talent Initiative
A Systematic Analysis of Needs and
Capabilities and Recommendations for a State Strategy
Governor Deval Patrick’s Life Sciences Initiative, announced in May 2007, is designed to make Massachusetts the global leader in the life sciences. Ensuring that Massachusetts has the talent to meet the needs of the growing life sciences sector is critical to the success of the initiative.
Thus, it is fitting that the first project funded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center since the Governor’s announcement is the Life Sciences Talent Initiative (LSTI), a comprehensive study designed to develop a collaborative statewide strategy among business, government and higher education to ensure that the state’s talent needs in the life sciences are met.
The Life Sciences Center, in partnership with the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, has commissioned the UMass Donahue Institute to undertake this study. The Institute is a unit of the President’s Office of the University of Massachusetts that serves as the system-wide public service and outreach arm of the University.
Between July 2007 and June 2008, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Talent Initiative will conduct a systematic analysis of current and future talent needs of the industry and the capacity of higher education to respond to those needs. In Year 1, the project will collect data on industry needs; inventory and analyze current Massachusetts strategies for life sciences education and training; assess successful models from within the state and in competitor states and nations; and develop specific recommendations on actions that state government, industry and higher education need to take to respond to the gap between current and future workforce needs and the capacity to meet them. In Year 2, the Initiative will track and monitor trends in the industry and the progress made in implementing the initial recommendations.
Collaboration among business, educational institutions and state agencies is at the heart of Governor Patrick’s vision for promoting growth of the life sciences cluster in Massachusetts. In keeping with the Governor’s strategy, the Life Sciences Talent Initiative will engage the knowledge and expertise of executives and human resource professionals in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and related companies; faculty and administrators at UMass, state and community colleges and private universities; and state officials involved in economic development and workforce training in collecting data, generating findings and developing recommendations.
Project Leadership, Organization and Staffing
The LSTI will be guided by an Advisory Committee representing the life sciences industry, higher education institutions and the executive and legislative branches of state government. Additional committees composed of faculty with expertise in the life sciences from public and private higher education institutions and workforce development professionals in the state will advise project staff.
A panel of independent experts from outside Massachusetts will review findings and recommendations of the study to ensure national and international relevance of strategies that emerge from the Initiative. The project will be staffed by the UMass Donahue Institute, led by Dr. Lynn Griesemer, Executive Director, Dr. Eric Heller, Director of Research and Evaluation and Dr. Michael Goodman, Director of Economic and Public Policy Research.
Project Components and Methodology
The Life Sciences Talent Initiative will gather information, produce findings and develop recommendations through:
- Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Current and Future Life Sciences Workforce
- Conducting an Inventory of Massachusetts Programs and Best Practices
- Analysis of In-state Life Sciences Graduate Pipeline and Gap Analysis
- Identifying Best Practices from Competitor States and Nations
- Convening a Statewide Summit with Leaders from Industry, Government and Higher Education
Reports, Recommendations and Follow up
Initial recommendations for legislation will be developed by late October 2007 based upon an initial assessment of industry need, a preview of best practices, and an overview of higher education and workforce training programs. A second report in January 2008 will include more in-depth findings on the needs of industry and the capacity to respond. A final report in June 2008 will summarize the study and will include relevant data, findings, and recommendations for the short (one to two years), medium (three to five years) and long term (six to ten years), with cost estimates where feasible. Indicators or benchmarks will be developed for each recommendation where possible. The UMass Donahue Institute will provide a one-year update on industry trends and will report on progress in implementing recommendations. The Advisory Committee will reconvene in June 2009 to review the findings and recommendations for further study.
For additional information regarding the study, please contact:
Dr. Lynn Griesemer, Project Supervisor
Ms. Robin Sherman, Project Manager