Having skilled workers in Queensland is essential to attract thriving biotechnology industries with evolving technology needs, and the BioManufacturing Alliance (BMA), coordinated by Life Sciences Queensland, brings the sector together to achieve that.
The Advanced Cell Therapy Manufacturing Initiative (ACTMI) at The University of ;Queensland is one of the research organisations working with the BMA to ensure students graduate with the skillsets needed by industry.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the collaboration opportunities provided through the BMA were invaluable.
“ACTMI has engaged with the BMA to understand where the skills gaps are in the workforce and through that alliance is seeking to address these gaps by providing courses, training opportunities, and upskilling our students to address that need,” Professor Terry said.
The need to increase the pool of a skilled biomanufacturing workforce is one of the challenges identified in the state government’s Queensland Biomedical 10 Year Roadmap and Action Plan.
Professor Frank Gannon, special advisor to Springfield City Group and former head of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, is optimistic that Queensland’s growing reputation as a collaborative environment was helping attract investments that would create and retain thousands of jobs.
Professor Gannon predicted businesses moving into BioPark Australia at Springfield, close to Brisbane, would create 1200 high-quality jobs in the next five years.
“Many of the businesses would address sovereign manufacturing needs, such as providing the supply chain for RNA vaccines from Canadian offshoot company Southern RNA, or specialised blood proteins from the planned Aegros fractionation facility,” Professor Gannon said.
“About 20% of the jobs will be for PhD candidates, another 30% will be for those who already have their PhDs and then, importantly, the rest of the jobs will go to technicians with specialist skills,” he said.
Life Sciences Queensland CEO Dr Erin Evans said the BMA had announced a Memorandum of Understanding that would formalise the two-year relationship between the parties, and would pave the way for new partners to join the Alliance.
“We have keen interest from leading biomanufacturing groups, including Sanofi, Aegros, USQ, Southern RNA and Vaxxas,” Dr Evans said. “We see huge potential globally in biomanufacturing and the BMA is a vital part of harnessing that for Queensland,” she said.
“The BMA is increasing collaboration across the sector, which will accelerate the growth of biomanufacturing in Queensland, as a well-coordinated sector provides a strong environment for business growth.”
“As the industry peak body, Life Sciences Queensland is committed to bringing together key players in the sector to drive investment and growth for Queensland.”
The BMA spans all sectors of bio-manufacturing from product development, personnel training, novel biotherapies and start-up labs, to dedicated locations to allow clustering of mature expanding industries.
The BMA announced it had formalised its arrangements with a Memorandum of Understanding this morning, at a breakfast for 150 sector leaders gathered for the AusBiotech ’23 conference being held in Brisbane from Nov 1–3.
The event is the first official engagement for Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Kerrie Wilson, who begins her appointment on 1 November.
The MOU signatories are: Life Sciences Queensland; research institutes QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the Translational Research Institute (TRI) and The University of Queensland; and commercial entities Cytiva, Springfield City Group and Thermo Fisher Patheon.
LSQ is the peak industry body that nurtures the Queensland life sciences sector, helping to mature and grow the organisations that feed, fuel and heal the world. We are the trusted advisor, advocate, enabler and connector for the sector.