The Application of Industry-Academia Collaboration to Enhance the Development of the Biopharmaceutical Industry Workforce in Ireland
The Irish Biopharmaceutical Industry is one of the significant success stories of recent years. Ireland exports over €55 billion in pharmaceuticals annually and is experiencing particularly fast growth in the biopharmaceutical segment of the industry. International competition for biotech investment is very intense, so much so that the number of countries and regions globally that are competing for biotech investment vastly outnumbers the total number of biopharmaceutical drugs that are currently in large scale manufacture. Ireland has succeeded in securing a large number of biopharmaceutical manufacturing investments and is continuing to attract investment. One of Ireland’s most attractive features is its workforce. According to the Global Competitiveness Report, Ireland is ranked ‘1st for flexibility and adaptability of workforce’ as well as ‘1st in the world for the availability of skilled labour’. This is of huge importance for companies intending to locate in Ireland and it is therefore vital that Ireland maintains this status.
In September 2005, the IDA Ireland made a commitment to fund the establishment of a National institute for Bioprocessing, Research and Training (NIBRT) as a centre of excellence in bioprocessing and biomanufacturing technology training and research to support the rapidly growing biopharmaceutical Industry in Ireland. Using industry and academia collaboration, the institute now provides a supply of people across the spectrum of the biopharmaceutical industry with the necessary skills in best practice and a real time environment. The Institute gives Ireland a competitive advantage and acts as a magnet of attraction for major biopharmaceuticals investments from both overseas and indigenous companies.
The current research project is a collaborative research project between IT Sligo and NIBRT that involves using industry-academia collaboration to analyse, design, develop, implement (using on-line and blended technologies) and evaluate suitable educational resources to address the needs of the rapidly growing Biopharmaceutical Industry in Ireland by enhancing the employability of the workforce.