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Education/Workforce Development Needs Survey Results

NIIMBL initiated a Workforce Development Project to access the most critical training needs of the biopharmaceutical industry, the most effective delivery methods, and the barriers or limitations to workforce training.

Surveys were conducted at five Regional Meetings held throughout the U.S., attended by participants from industry, academia, and government and non-profit agencies. Respondents selected their top answer(s) to questions from lists of responses prepared in advance. An on-line version of the same survey was also sent to industry representatives that included the industry attendees at the Regional Meetings. Respondents to the on-line survey could ranks their answers to questions and submit their own answers. This summary presents the results of cumulative responses from approximately 230 total responses. The data obtained from the surveys is available on the NIIMBL website ( and summarized below. The results of these surveys are not intended to be statistically meaningful and only reflect the enthusiasm and interests of the participants.

Critical workforce development needs

Respondents mentioned that recruiting experienced technical staff was their top priority; followed by recruiting, training and retention of experienced graduates, and existing technical staff.

Most effective delivery methods for training

The survey indicates that in-house training with internal and external trainers is an effective method of training, but they also value the effectiveness of hands-on experiences with on-line or lectures or materials. Short courses with no hands-on component and on-line materials alone did not get as high a ranking.

Greatest training needs for professional engineers and scientists

Respondents reported that the greatest need in this area is in GMP, quality and risk analysis, followed closely by training in emerging products (gene and cell therapies) and new analytical technologies.

Greatest training needs for operators and technicians

GMP, quality and risk analysis again topped the list of needs for this group, followed by training in advanced manufacturing technologies, automation, validation and new analytical methods. It is interesting that the areas that were mentioned to be the greatest needs for training for professional engineers and scientists were some of the lowest for operators and technicians.

Industry’s largest limitations or barriers to training

The largest barriers to establishing effective training programs in industry included: time commitment by staff, cost of the training, timeliness of the training with respect to need, lack of access to equipment or technology and lack of management buy-in to returns on investments (ROI) on training.

Click here to view Education / Workforce Development Needs Survey Results

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