MTPConnect Workforce Initiative Delivers Skills Needed to Power Life Sciences Sector Growth

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01 June 2024

As MTPConnect’s Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative moves to completion, a new report released today captures the program’s impact in successfully developing and growing Australia’s life sciences sector workforce.

Over the last three and a half years, REDI has delivered training, mentoring and industry placements to more than 8,400 participants across Australia, nearly double the original target.

The report – Improving workforce skills in Australia’s medical products sector’ – was launched at a workforce capability roundtable at the BIO2024 conference in San Diego, US, with sector professionals and industry leaders from around the world in attendance.

MTPConnect CEO, Stuart Dignam, said the Australia-US roundtable was a timely industry event to launch the REDI Impact Report and discuss key skills gaps and challenges facing companies in the life science sector.

“For our sector to grow, we need people with skills and experience in research translation, clinical applications and commercialisation and for researchers, clinicians and industry to be closely linked,” Mr Dignam said.

“With its focus on developing an industry-ready workforce, REDI has been comprehensively addressing the challenge of developing, attracting and retaining world-class talent, and in so doing, setting-up Australian medical science SMEs for future success.

“If medical science start-ups can get access to the staff they need, then they have every chance to grow and scale their businesses in Australia, further building the capacity of the ecosystem to sustain jobs growth, investment and increased onshore economic activity.”

MTPConnect’s REDI initiative has succeeded in providing researchers with a diverse range of industry experiences and exposure to entrepreneurism, delivering:

  • Overall participation from 8,423 stakeholders, 79 per cent above original target
  • A sought-after fellowship program with 49 sector professionals placed with research-intensive companies in Australia and around the world
  • Three comprehensive skills gap analysis reports
  • 48 targeted training programs in sought-after skills like Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Quality Management Systems (QMS)
  • GMP skills for 400 new entrants and experienced manufacturing professionals
  • QMS training for 1,249 sector professionals
  • Innovation training for 119 clinician entrepreneurs – nurses, allied health professionals and doctors

At the report’s launch in San Diego, US and Australian experts discussed the challenges and solutions for building workforce skills capability in the biotech sector and featured life sciences leaders from CSL, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bench International, Cytiva and Biocom California.

REDI Director Jarrod Belcher launches the REDI Impact report in San Diego.

“We know there are deep skilled staff shortages in the life sciences sector, particularly in growth areas such as clinical trials, medical products manufacturing and in emerging areas such as radiopharmaceuticals,” says Mr Dignam.

“Australia needs a strong and vibrant workforce with the skills to rise to the challenge of translating and commercialising our research and REDI has been the one program in Australia addressing these skills gaps.

“With REDI now concluded, the challenge remains to ensure growing and scaling SMEs can access the skilled staff they need, in Australia, to get their products to market and ultimately to patients.”

Launched in 2020, the REDI program is an initiative of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) delivered by MTPConnect, Australia’s Life Sciences Innovation Accelerator. The report captures compelling experiences from across the program.

Download REDI Impact Report 

The Australia-US workforce capability roundtable at the BIO2024 conference in San Diego, US - chaired by MTPConnect's Jo Close, Director Adelaide Intermediary Program.