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Report helps guide Bay State’s life sciences plans

Report helps guide Bay State’s life sciences plans

Nine out of 10 employers in life sciences-related fields are already finding it difficult to hire enough staff to conduct clinical research, and 75 percent reported having problems locating staff in engineering and life science regulatory experience, according to a much-anticipated life sciences industry study released Tuesday.

The report called for efforts to increase the number of graduate students in the sciences and mathematics, as well as regulatory affairs. It was conducted by the UMass Donahue Institute and commissioned by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

A key component of the report’s recommendations centered on the need to motivate students — particularly those from kindergarten through high school — to seek careers in science and technology. Training the existing workforce in technical skills that life science companies need was also cited. “China and India are producing legions of ambitious young scientists and engineers every year,” the report said.

About 100,000 people work in the state’s life science industry, according to the report, and those workers earn roughly 64 percent more than the average worker in other industries in Massachusetts.

The yearlong study, titled “Growing Talent: Meeting the Evolving Needs of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Industry,” cost $250,000. The study was conducted to answer key questions regarding a proposed decline in the future life science workforce.

The Donahue Institute worked closely with state life sciences employers, academia and government officials to determining their current and future workforce needs; and help develop a series of recommendations to address those needs, officials said.

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