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Biopharmaceutical Scientists: Paving the Way for the Next Generation
A Guest Post from PhRMA:
As an industry, we need to do a better job of telling our story – who we are, what we believe in, and why the work we are doing is so important. If we don’t, we will continue to be misunderstood and the full value of innovative medicines may not be recognized.
A good starting point is to put a spotlight on biopharmaceutical scientists who every day work hard to discover and research new potential medicines to help improve and save millions of patients’ lives.
After all, scientists are the heart and soul of the biopharmaceutical enterprise. Without scientists, our industry – and the life-saving therapies it develops – would cease to exist.
Many people have said that if patients could meet or see the face of the scientist who discovered the medicines that have helped them survive perhaps the biopharmaceutical industry would be viewed in a different light. Unlike patients’ relationships with their physician, nurse or pharmacist – where trust has often been built over time – they don’t have the same opportunity for direct interaction with the people who develop their medicines.
The good news is that through a new initiative called “I AM SCIENCE”, we are bringing the scientists to your living room, office, classrooms and just about anywhere there is Internet access so that you can meet those who are responsible for developing transformative medicines that can help you, a family member or a friend fight disease.
I AM SCIENCE Initiative
“I AM SCIENCE” serves a dual purpose. Not only will this initiative help us do a better job of telling our story; it will also reinforce our commitment to help create the next generation of scientists and ensure America’s standing as the world-leader in biomedical innovation.
This initiative will not only put a face on our industry it should also provide inspiration for younger generations to enter the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
“I AM SCIENCE” gives biopharmaceutical scientists a platform to tell their own story, in their own words, of the exciting, life-changing work they do researching and discovering treatments for patients suffering from disease. It also shows a lighter side of a scientists’ life – what they do outside of work and the parallels between their hobbies and their professional career.
For example, in one of the “I AM SCIENCE” videos we feature an adventurous scientist from EMD Serono named Michelle Seng. When Michelle isn’t researching potential medicines for multiple sclerosis, she practices martial arts. She told us that martial arts – specifically martial arts sword fighting – gives her the focus she needs when she goes to work in the lab.
Creating Future Generations of Scientists
A big part of this effort is to get young students to say, “Wow, scientists can be cool! I want to be a scientist when I grow up!” This is critically important as our nation faces a tremendous gap in the number of students who have the STEM skill set to fill important roles at innovative companies in the U.S.
It’s no secret that our nation is now at a crossroads. America’s standing as a world leader in medical and scientific innovation is on the line unless we grow a new crop of talented scientists in the U.S. If we fail, our scientific foundation will crack and hope for new medicines will diminish.
STEM workers drive our nation’s innovation and competiveness by generating new ideas, new companies, and new industries. Investing in STEM education and attracting more youth to STEM fields is critical to increasing the supply and quality of knowledge workers whose specialized skills are critical to R&D intensive industries such as the biopharmaceutical industry.
For this reason, scientists in the “I AM SCIENCE” videos have a message for our nation’s youth about how to stay focused on their studies and how gratifying it is to enter such a dynamic and heroic field of work.
In the words of Eli Lilly’s Chief Scientific Officer Olof Larsson, “too often kids look up to football stars and celebrities as their heroes”. But in his view, scientists who discover life-saving treatments for patients are our heroes – their work is advancing health and saving patients’ lives.
Science is What We Do
Science is the foundation of this industry. Science defines who we are and what we do.
From the thousands of potential medicines that are in the robust pipeline to the clinical trials that are conducted to determine the benefits and risks of medicines, the biopharmaceutical industry is committed to advancing science and ultimately, patient health.
We are striving to do a better job of telling our science story so that we are recognized as being part of the solution in improving millions of patients’ lives and doing our part to help create a 21st century workforce so that future scientists can carry forward the great work researchers are doing today to help solve some of the greatest health challenges we will face tomorrow.
Please have a look at our I AM SCIENCE videos – and meet a few of our sector’s exciting scientists.