America’s biopharmaceutical companies are at the heart of a robust research and development (R&D) ecosystem that develops more innovative medicines than any other country in the world. The ongoing development of new life-saving and life-improving medicines would not be possible without a robust pipeline of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers at all levels.
The biopharmaceutical industry has made a significant, sustained commitment to enhancing the country’s STEM education and a diverse talent pipeline by inspiring and developing the next generation of scientists, engineers and technology professionals. A new PhRMA report prepared by TEConomy Partners, LLC finds that the industry’s sustained commitment to support STEM education includes:
- Industry financial support totaled $204 million in the last 5 years
- 7.4 million students have been reached by industry-sponsored STEM programs
- 25,000 teachers have been reached by industry-sponsored STEM programs
- Companies and their foundations awarded nearly 2,500 STEM education grants
- 70+ STEM programs initiated by PhRMA members in the last 5 years
- Just over half of the reported STEM education programs are intentionally designed to engage underrepresented populations
The report also finds that the innovative biopharmaceutical industry is working to broaden participation by historically underrepresented groups in STEM so that the American STEM talent pool and workforce can better reflect our nation’s diverse population. This includes engaging all demographic groups in STEM education and experiential learning and ensuring STEM classrooms are representative of the nation.
This report builds on earlier findings that determined the industry’s K-12 and college level STEM programs have impacted 1.6 million students and 17.5 thousand teachers in just 5 years and continues to highlight the importance of a STEM workforce for the biopharmaceutical industry. It is notable that the biopharmaceutical industry with a STEM workforce concentration is more than five times other industries. The report documents the strong linkages between STEM-intensive industries, such as the biopharmaceutical industry, and desirable innovation and economic outcomes, including:
- High-growth, high-quality jobs with bright career prospects
- New inventions and patent filings
- Development of technology driven startups
- Sustained economic growth
Despite the recognition of the critical role of the STEM workforce to the nation’s growing innovation economy and calls to bolster our domestic manufacturing capacity, the United States continues to lag behind other countries in terms of STEM literacy and expertise.
America’s biopharmaceutical companies are committed to continuing to advance STEM. However, in order for the United States to continue its global R&D leadership and expand its advanced manufacturing capabilities, policymakers must focus on strengthening the STEM pipeline as well.
Abigail Lore Abigail Lore, MPA, is Senior Manager of Policy and Research at PhRMA. At PhRMA she is responsible for developing educational materials and research studies on a range of issues impacting innovative biopharmaceutical companies including FDA policy issues, the R&D process, and emerging technologies such as digital health tools and cell and gene therapies. Before joining PhRMA in 2019, she worked at a patient advocacy organization as a project manager. Abigail came to Washington, DC via New Hampshire to attend American University, and fell in love with the city including the running and biking trails, endless restaurants to try and the DC sports teams. Abigail has seen the first hand benefits of biopharmaceutical research and is passionate about advocating for a strong STEM workforce as well as the patients they work to help.