Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the BIO International Convention in San Francisco and watch Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe receive the BIO Governor of the Year award. He received this award in recognition of his commitment to improve the bioscience industry in the state. He has shown a long term commitment, demonstrated accomplishments, including new programs and encouraged the state to invest more dollars in building the Virginia bioscience economy than ever before in history.
Virginia is on a promising trajectory to increase the number of bioscience companies and initiatives. Currently, where does the bioscience industry in Virginia stand? This is not an easy question to answer but Virginia Bio is making a new effort to work with others to find the best way to measure the state’s progress.
Luckily for us, the Bio Innovation Organization (BIO) and TEConomy, recently released their bi-annual report on this exact thing. This state by state industry assessment reports data on national, state, and bioscience industry employment and recent trends. The most recent report, two-year old back growth from 2012 to 2014 by the number of employees and companies, average wages, academic expenditures, venture capital investments, and patents.
In Virginia, there are just over 26,000 bioscience industry jobs that span 1,624 businesses. During this two-year study, Virginia saw a 2% decline in the bioscience industry overall but the medical device and bioscience distribution saw an addition of jobs. In fact, Virginia employment in medical devices increased 9% while national hiring remained unchanged during this period. The NIH granted $322 million in funding awards to our research institutions and venture capitalist invested $713 million.
This data gives us a metric to be proud of and improve upon. Without knowing our strengths and weakness, we wouldn’t know where to focus our attention.
Another good source of data is the Coalition of State Biosciences (CSBI) Workforce Trend Report, that Virginia is participating in this year. This report provides a national glimpse of the current and expected talent needs in the life science industry. The 2016 Workforce Trends report shows that Virginia experienced a dramatic increase in workforce demand in 2015. This is appropriate since the overall need found in this report was for critical talent with specific skills and training. The Executive Summary of the report is available to view or download now, and the full report will be available online approximately July 20.
Now we are looking for collaborators in state and private industry to determine the measures to best describe what we have, what we need, and future things we can do with real data. We all know we have a concentration of data, science, and people; lets get the hard data. Lets pull the data together and tell a story that cannot be denied. Help us on this journey. Please contact us if you have available resources that will assist us in this effort.