WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 22, 2014) – Innovative biopharmaceutical companies and their corporate foundations are making significant contributions to U.S. science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through a broad range of local, state and national level programs and initiatives aimed at elementary through post-secondary education, according to a first-of-its-kind report by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice.
The efforts, which represent important financial and in-kind investments, are characterized in the new report, supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and unveiled today at a STEM Saves Lives event in Washington, DC, hosted by U.S. News & World Report and PhRMA.
Watch PhRMA’s live webinar of the STEM Saves Lives event today at 9:45am (EST).
A robust STEM-skilled workforce is critical to continued scientific and technological innovations, which foster sustained economic growth, global competitiveness and help patients live longer, healthier, more productive lives. However, the U.S. alarmingly faces a rising gap in STEM skills compared to countries such as Japan, China and parts of Europe, which are making substantial public investments in STEM.
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recently found the U.S. will need to produce one million additional STEM graduates over the next decade to maintain its position as the world’s leader in science and technology innovation. As an industry rooted in science and innovation, the biopharmaceutical research sector is particularly concerned by the shortage of highly skilled STEM workers in the U.S.
“Nearly one third of our sector’s manufacturing workforce alone is employed in STEM-related occupations – roughly five times higher than the average share of STEM-related employment across the economy,” said John J. Castellani, President and CEO of PhRMA. “It is vital that we increase the number of young people pursuing STEM degrees in order to keep those jobs here in the United States and maintain our nation’s leadership in developing treatments and cures that improve patients’ lives.”
The new Battelle report reveals steps taken by two dozen PhRMA member companies and their foundations to improve STEM education in the U.S. and create a sustainable 21st century innovation workforce. Over the past five years, these companies have supported more than 90 individual initiatives focused on students and/or teachers in STEM-related fields. These efforts have reached over 1.6 million students and 17,500 teachers across the U.S., with 85 percent of the industry-sponsored STEM programs focused on K-12.
Among the findings in the report:
More than $100 million invested by the 24 companies in STEM-related initiatives since 2008, including nearly 600 individual grants;
Almost 27,000 hours of volunteer time collectively logged by nearly 4,500 industry employees over the past five years;
Equipment donations and the use of company laboratory facilities;
And, more than 30 individual company programs specifically geared towards increasing diversity in STEM fields.
“In conducting our survey, it was immediately apparent that these companies and foundations were going well beyond typical financial investments into STEM education programs – they were providing volunteers, lab space, teacher training, and much more,” said Ryan Helwig, Senior Research Scientist, Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. “We are proud to release this STEM report alongside PhRMA, and hope this report encourages other companies to be involved in supporting STEM education initiatives.”
For the complete findings of the report, please go to www.phrma.org/innovation/stem
To view the webcast of the “STEM Saves Lives” event, please visit www.phrma.org/stem-saves-lives
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested approximately $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $48.5 billion in 2012 alone.
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Find PhRMA Online:
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For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: http://www.pparx.org
For information on ensuring the flow of medicines during public health emergencies, visit http://www.rxresponse.org