Inventory of Biotechnology Industries in Greater Tampa Bay

FCoE- BITT (Florida Center of Excellence for Bimolecular Identification for Targeted Therapeutics) at the University of South Florida partnered with Florida Advanced Technological Education Center to conduct a first-cut inventory of existing biotechnology companies in the greater Tampa Bay region. The initiative was part of an effort to identify current training needs, job categories, required skill-sets, and assess the growing workforce demand for bio-technicians in the region.

A total of 139 companies were identified in 7 counties, in the Tampa Bay area. Surveys were conducted in 2008, and included 49 biopharmaceutical companies, 49 medical device manufacturers, 32 research and development companies, and 9 categorized themselves as “other”. Candidates were identified through direct contact with knowledgeable individuals, the FLATE and BITT databases and FHTCC, eFlorida, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and Tampa Bay Partnership.

Approximately 64% of the surveyed companies stated that they market their goods internationally. Thirteen percent stated they have a national market, 15% were local, and 13% were statewide companies. In terms of educational requirements, 33% percent indicated their minimal educational requirement was a Bachelor of Science degree. Technical training and “quality assurance” were identified as primary training needs, while required skill-sets included laboratory experience; mechanical/electrical skills; mechanical aptitude, manufacturing and computer skills.

Results of the inventory provided important information that was used to gauge the current work force and its needs. It will also be used to design necessary education and training programs to meet the needs and ensure a skilled and proficient labor force. The inventory has helped to define strong partners for an advisory council comprised of biotechnology industry representatives that convened for its initial meeting in the summer of 2009. The council and academics will host a focus group in early 2010 to drill down deeper to define detailed knowledge and competencies that are required in new biotechnology curricula and programs developed for the greater Tampa Bay area.

For more information on the surveys, or to view the full report visit http://fl-ate.org/projects/bitt-industry.html, or contact Kim Wilson at 813.253.7845/wilson@fl-ate.org