General Manager, Niall Murray writes about the NIBRT Careers in Biopharma Event held in UCD on 16th April 2014.
Yesterday, along with my colleagues Sean Gannon and Christopher O’ Toole, I attended the NIBRT Careers in Biopharma event in the really impressive NIBRT facility in UCD, Dublin. The event was a huge success with over 400 jobseekers attending. The event attracted some of the leading companies in the Biopharma space including: Allergan, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Regeneron, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, MSD, Biomarin, Lancaster Laboratories and APC.
There were a few very interesting trends that I noted and here are a few of the key points I took from the day:
- Ireland is winning a lot of Inward Investment in the Biopharmaceutical sector
In the last 12 months we have seen large scale investments by Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron, Alexion, Ethicon, Eli Lilly. Since January 2014 over 900 jobs have been announced in the Biopharma space. Great credit is due to the IDA for their role in winning these investments for Ireland.
- NIBRT is a critical part of our Biopharma infrastructure
The NIBRT facility is a critical piece of infrastructure for the biopharma sector and the contribution they make to the sector cannot be under estimated. From speaking to senior management of the companies at the event yesterday they were all highlighting the contribution NIBRT makes to the business whether it be in the area of training or indeed assisting them to sell the merits of Ireland to their colleagues across the globe when aiming to win further investment.
- Regional Locations
It is interesting to note the regional spread of the Biopharma investments in recent years. Ethicon and Regeneron have chosen Limerick as their base. PPD, Alexion and Jazz have chosen Athlone as a location, MSD ‘s operation is in Carlow. Ely Lilly are based in Kinsale, Co. Cork, Genzyme and Lancaster Laboratories are based in Waterford, Elanco are based in Sligo and Allergan are in Westport. It is great to see a good regional spread to these investments.
- Success of Springboard
The government response to the unemployment crisis has been debated over and over and initiatives like JobBridge continue to polarise commentators. In my view their efforts in establishing the Springboard programmes are to be commended. The Springboard programmes are taking people from the live register, re-training them and giving people the practical skillset to work in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, medical devices or food sector. Courses like the Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Processing are excellent courses to up-skill people and make them “job ready” for the industry. The partnership IT Sligo has developed with NIBRT in delivering these courses online is another really good example of innovation and breaking down traditional barriers to education.
- We are producing talented scientists
We met with over 300 really talented, ambitious graduates at the event yesterday and the feedback from companies I spoke to was similar. They were all very impressed with the quality of the graduates. One of the things that really impressed me was the number of Phd and Masters students attending the event. Their specialist technical research skills are the key to the further development of the biopharma industry in Ireland. I would take confidence that as a country we are and will continue to produce enough science graduates at both 3rd and 4th level to support and sustain the development of the biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland as is grows.