More needed to attract skills in biomedical field, says ABPI

A new report by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) claims that British students lack the core laboratory and mathematical skills for research.

A new report by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) claims that British students lack the core laboratory and mathematical skills for research.

The report - 'Skills Needs for Biomedical Research: creating the pools of talent to win the innovation race' - highlights serious concerns about the supply of skills that support the research and development of new medicines.

It also highlights a deficit in the supply of critical subjects to support translational medicine - the process by which early research is translated into candidate medicines that can be tested on patients. The report follows on from the ABPI's 2005 report called 'Sustaining The Skills Pipeline in the Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Industries'. Many of the issues of concern highlighted in the 2005 report are still of concern today and the industry is calling on all stakeholders to work together to urgently address these gaps.

The gaps are leaving the UK science base increasingly open to competition from countries such as China, Singapore and India, who are growing their skills supply and competing on cost.

"The UK pharmaceutical industry is at a tipping point when it comes to skills supply," said Dr Philip Wright, director of science and technology at the ABPI. "If the trend continues, the UK stands to lose an industry that contributes billions of pounds to its economy every year and the UK academic base will not be sustainable in the long term. We are calling for Government to link more effectively funding for key university courses with its science and innovation strategy. Universities should receive higher levels of funding to invest in training and education in strategically important subjects."

Wright said: "Successful biomedical innovation requires a range of skills in both the public and private sector. We need to create pools of talent to attract and retain investment if we are to compete in the long-term."

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