Boston is a vibrant hub of activity for bioinformatics and genomics, and from 3-4 October the city will be hosting the next Festival of Genomics. These events, held annually in London, Boston and San Diego, are run by Front Line Genomics to bring together people from academia, biopharma and healthcare to provide a space to share the latest updates and developments in the field of Genomics. This week, Paramount Recruitment’s Eugene McDaid is heading stateside to attend the Boston Festival of Genomics to check out the life sciences scene in the US. Here, Eugene tells us more:
Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded by English settlers in 1630. As well as being an important port and manufacturing centre, Boston has established an international reputation for higher education and it is home to world revered institutions like Harvard and MIT.
Boston is considered to be one of the top life sciences clusters in the US, with a biotechnology economy almost five times as big as the UK’s. In Greater Boston, hospitals, universities and research institutions received more than $1.77bn in National Institutes of Health grants in 2013 – more than any other American metropolitan area.
With so much investment and infrastructure in place, it’s no surprise that Boston is firmly on the map when it comes to biotech and why it has been chosen as one of the three global locations for the Festival of Genomics.
This year, I’m attending the Boston event to hear about the advancements in Genomics being made across the pond and to meet some of the pharma, biotech and start up companies that are driving Boston’s success in the life sciences sector.
With such a big Genomics economy, one particular area of interest to me is how these companies get the top talent they need to grow their businesses. After all, success breeds growth, and to grow requires additional people.
I wonder what demand there is, at any one time, for skilled biotech candidates in Boston? At Paramount, we are normally advertising somewhere in the region of 50 vacancies at any one time. These numbers must be significantly higher in the US. Which poses the question, will the growth of the life sciences industry in Boston ultimately be limited to its ability to recruit talent?
On my travels, I’ll also be interested to find out what challenges immigration poses to US businesses. Science advances without borders, as research all over the world is shared for the greater good. But borders and immigration controls limit the freedom of scientists to move around the global science community in the same way as their research.
In the future, perhaps recruitment agencies will become a necessity for US life sciences companies, to help them navigate the challenges of more rigorous border controls planned by the Trump administration. This could open the door to less restrictions between favoured trading countries, and open up the US market to healthy growth through economic migration from the UK and Europe. Paramount already places Candidates globally, so I’m confident that the opportunity to work in Boston would draw a lot of attention from within Britain’s biotech community.
Boston is clearly a place where great minds come together and this creates an environment for success. For Paramount, it’s important for us to be on the ground in this inspirational place to see first-hand how the life sciences industry compares and to find opportunities for us to lend our skills and knowledge to our US cousins.
We believe that recruitment will be a critical factor in the future advancement of Genomics, and it is our duty to help companies find the talent they need to grow, discover and ultimately help more patients to make the world a better place. That alone is worth the trip.