Mind the talent gap: new biologics facility to upskill Australia's future workforce

Jul 25, 2019

The opening of a new $11.5m biotech production and training facility at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has been welcomed by government and industry leaders who say fostering and keeping local talent in the burgeoning Life Sciences sector is key to building a globally competitive industry.

At the facility launch today, UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said the Biologics Innovation Facility (BIF) is a great example of industry, government and university collaboration to drive the jobs of the future in an emerging industry.

“UTS is a research-intensive university and through collaboration with government and industry partners such as the NSW Government and GE Healthcare, we’re supporting the creation of jobs in highly skilled STEM based industries.

“I expect this facility will be key to addressing local skills shortages and ensuring the brightest and most talented scientists and engineers stay locally, allowing Australia to capture a multibillion dollar share of a rapidly expanding biologics market while also making real world impact in the area of biologics,” Professor Brungs said.

The 430 square metre (4,628 sq. ft.) underground facility houses a series of clean rooms and containment laboratories that will transform professional training in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), the essential industry standard for the sector. The facility is the first biotech facility of its kind in an Australian university and provides a unique opportunity to support Australia’s future biosecurity defense in response to pandemics and need for alternative supply chains.

GE Healthcare Life Sciences CEO, Emmanuel Ligner said, “Making training accessible will secure innovation in our industry. This place is an ideal environment for both startups and established companies to scale and refine their processes, bringing advanced therapies and personalised medicines to market faster and more efficiently.”

In addition to initial seed funding of $750,000 from the NSW Boosting Business Innovation Program via the NSW Government, the facility has secured $1.2m from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. The research collaboration with GEHC gives the fast-changing biotech and pharmaceutical sector the opportunity to train and upskill employees locally, using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment.
 
NSW Minister for Jobs Stuart Ayres MP said the NSW Government was proud to be backing the Biologics Innovation Facility.

“Our Boosting Business Innovation Program and Medtech Industry Development Strategy are connecting university and industry expertise to develop new products and services that can create jobs for the future, and to support skills development to train and grow our rapidly growing specialised medtech and biotech workforce,” Mr Ayres said.

UTS Dean of Science, Professor Dianne Jolley said she was honoured to announce the BIF as the “only South East Asian node to deliver training programs from the National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT)”. NIBRT is a global Centre of Excellence based in Ireland and world leader in the field of biopharma training.


“All the pieces have come together and it’s an exciting time as we now watch how this is going to transform industries throughout NSW, Australia and South-East Asia,” Professor Jolley said. “Australian-made pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals enjoy a reputation for quality, traceability and trust and this innovative facility will help keep Australia globally competitive.”

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), located in central Sydney, is one of Australia’s leading universities of technology. It is known for fusing innovation, creativity and technology in its teaching and research and for being an industry-focused university. UTS has a total enrolment of over 40,000 students and is rated No.1 ‘young’ university in Australia in both the QS and Times Higher Education rankings. For more information: uts.edu.au.


GE Healthcare Life Sciences helps therapy innovators, researchers and healthcare providers accelerate how precision diagnostics and therapies are invented, made and used. Our products enable biological analysis, research, development and the manufacture of advanced therapies and vaccines. For more information: gehealthcare.com/about/life-sciences