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The Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP), a collaborative initiative of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Department of Workforce Services, and the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), released the Life Science Cluster Acceleration Strategy. Findings of the strategic industry review reveal many significant contributions and opportunities for Utah.
The Life Science UCAP project gathered extensive input and a detailed quantitative assessment of the state’s life sciences industry, core technology and broader talent, innovation and research position of Utah. Westminster College and the University of Utah acted as co-conveners, bringing life science industry, academic and government representatives together.
“This UCAP project sets out a strategy and a detailed plan of action to guide this fast growing industry cluster in Utah,” said Cameron Martin, USHE associate commissioner for economic development. “The plan will guide institutions of higher education in their mission to support overall economic development of their respective regions and the Utah state economy as a whole.”
Major findings of the assessment are:
The assessment also identifies four strategic priorities to accelerate the industry. These are in the areas of talent and workforce development, access to capital, university technology development and licensure, and cluster advocacy.
“Key findings from the acceleration strategy indicate that Utah has a strong base on which to continue to build its life science industry cluster,” Martin continued. “But realizing the opportunities will require that Utah maintain a competitive position in the life science and address any gaps in its life science infrastructure that exist, particularly those around talent.”
An implementation committee comprised of industry, government and education leaders is currently being formed to oversee plan implementation. Martin specially addressed the need for better educational alignment with the needs of the cluster “We have done a good job in the past of producing a life science talent, but we will need to develop new and innovative approaches to meet the future talent needs.”
The Battelle Technology Partnership Practice (TPP) was engaged to analyze Utah’s life science industry sector and research and development base, identify any gaps in the state’s life science infrastructure and facilitate the development of strategies and actions. TPP is the consulting arm of Battelle, the world’s largest, nonprofit independent research and development organization.
Other partners in the project include Utah State University, and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and USTAR. Life science industry representatives on the steering committee include: Nelson Laboratories, Watson Pharmaceuticals, PPL Capital Advisors, the Utah Technology Council, and Ignition Key.