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build a bigger, better, more impactful life science industry in Virginia

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

Here are updates on action steps we are taking on our long-term strategies to create a stronger foundation on which to build a bigger, better, more impactful life science industry in Virginia.

Talent - the Virginia Life Science Workforce Initiative

We are on track for our statewide June 21, Virginia Life Science Workforce Summit, Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The program brings together leaders from life science employers and higher ed across the state to focus with attendees on issues that will move us forward. Please attend, or make sure someone from your company or school does. You’ll make copious contacts, accelerate your own talent acquisition efforts, and help us build a better system for the future. We’ll issue a “white paper” with proceedings, findings and recommendations after the conference. Register now!

The pilot program for the Live Video Interview series to help higher ed students concluded successfully this Spring, and we’ve tweaked it with collaborators at ODU, W&M and JMU and are planning it out fully for the next academic year– 16 episodes, one every other week. The series will be interviews of individuals across the state and across varied sectors of the “life science industry” made available to every higher ed student anywhere in Virginia. The purpose is to help them become familiar with the range of careers life science education prepares them for and become aware of opportunities across Virginia. Take a look at one of the 3 minute trailers on one of the 30-minute interviews in the pilot program.

The Capstone MPA team from VCU’s Wilder School of Public Policy delivered its final report on a snapshot and trends in Virginia Life Science workforce. We’ll share findings and recommendations at the Summit.

We’ll also use the Summit to dig into best practices on experiential learning and hone our internship strategy, learn models around the state and innovative models we may adopt. Currently 50 employers are listed on our website internship page as accepting internship applications, with name and contact for each, but we’d love to add more. Please let us know if yours or another organization should be added to the list and who the contact is.

Research / technology

One of the insights driving all that we do is the realization of the great work being done in Virginia in our field but in scattered locales and organizations, and the benefit of better awareness, communications and networks of relationships. On June 25-26 we are cohosting with the Virginia Drug Discovery Consortium the Virginia Drug DiscoveryRx: A symposium on Academic-Industrial Partnerships in Drug Discovery at GMU’s Founders Hall in Arlington, VA. For the agenda and to register see: I admire the vision and hard work of the university researchers who run VaDDC to accelerate research in the Commonwealth. The agenda includes successful entrepreneurs who have translated basic research into biotech companies, university researchers who have promising drug candidates in development, new technologies to assist drug development, and industry and government leaders.

I am spending time serving on the Implementation Advisory Team for VRIC (Virginia Research Investment Fund) to explore how to implement changes to VRIC’s activities and programs recommended in the Report “Assessment of Virginia’s Research Assets: Strategic Directions to Advance Innovation-Led Growth and High-Quality Job Creation across the Commonwealth” by TEConomy Partners. The Report lays out four Strategic Growth Opportunities for Virginia (Cyber and Cyber-Physical Security; Integrated Networking, Communications, and Data Analytics; System of Systems (SoSE) Engineering Solutions; and Life Sciences) and recommends the state’s efforts focus on these areas. Our subcommittee is considering Strategy One, namely:

“Strategy One: Pursue the strategic growth opportunities through public-private collaborations in advancing translational research capacities.
Baseline Action for VRIC to Consider

Baseline Action 1: Establish a competitive translational research project fund involving industry and university partners in strategic growth opportunities
Enhanced Action 1 for the Commonwealth to Consider: Support the formation and sustainment of industry-led statewide translational research centers in each of the strategic growth opportunity areas

Baseline Action 2: Raise Virginia’s competitiveness to pursue major federal research center awards to multi-university, multi-industry collaborations through planning, program coordination, and outreach grants and offering matching state funds for facility and equipment costs”

I welcome you to contact me and share your thoughts in the coming weeks on this topic, and we will be reaching out to some of you to share your experiences and ideas.

Best Wishes,


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