The bright future of the Belgian life sciences industry04/10/2016 - John Nuyens, Pharmaceutical Project engineer at Quality by Design
In the last three years, the life sciences industry has realized around 3,000 to 3,500 extra jobs in Belgium. This comes down to over 1,000 extra jobs every year. A significant increase in an industry that encompasses around 50,000 direct and 150,000 indirect jobs, according to Henk Joos – managing director of FlandersBio. In my opinion, it’s also a great sign of the bright future that’s ahead of the Belgian life sciences industry.
I completely agree with Henk Joos on the fact that Belgium belongs to one of the top leaders within the life sciences sector. At QbD we see an increasing amount of investments in the life sciences industry. Not only in traditional pharmacy, but also in industries including medical devices and diagnostics, and more innovative and bio tech related companies. The investments in life sciences also affect other Belgian industries, such as logistics. Pharmacy and logistics are closely connected, because pharmaceutical products need to be transported in a safe, efficient way. Therefore, an increasing amount of attention is being paid to the cooperation between the pharmaceutical and logistics industry. Take for example the Healthcare Logistics Forum, the network for manufacturing companies in the European healthcare industry, or the Pharma & Care department of PostNL. But pharma – and the life sciences industry in general – also entwines more and more with other sectors, such as software.
Because of this involvement with other industries, the life sciences industry shifts from solely scientific to a more multidisciplinary story. Employees need to combine science with other skills, such as IT knowledge. The so-called ‘combination jobs’, according to Henk Joos. This also applies to QbD employees. Because of their consultancy job, they need to be familiar with a lot of different subjects. Our employees have a scientific degree in bio engineering, industrial engineering, chemistry or bio technology, but are also interested in more than physical sciences. They specialise in software, data integrity, production processes or quality assurance. To facilitate this, QbD invests a lot in training and development. We offer employees about twenty different courses – from subjects like technology transfer to track and trace and serialisation.
Our Academy Model
Another way to invest in our employees, is our Academy Model. In consultation with a company, we recruit young engineers or scientists. While we set up the relevant skills training and methodology training, employees work on their on-the-job-experience in the company. After two years, it’s up to the company and the employee to decide where he or she will continue his or her career: at the pharmaceutical company or within QbD as a true life science consultant. In my opinion, this co-sourcing model is a win-win situation. While the insourcing company benefits from flexible capacity with hiring possibilities, the trainee benefits from flexible career planning and great possibilities to find a job. Besides, the life sciences industry is welcoming more trained and qualified people with practical experience, ready to increase the top leadership of Belgium in the industry even more.
Switching from a solely scientific background to a more multidisciplinary approach means the Belgian life sciences industry has a bright future ahead. Do you want to be part of it? We are always looking for new experts in traditional pharma, bio technology, medical devices and more. Take a look at our job site, contact us or visit us at BCF Career Event België on November 23 in Gent, Belgium. QbD will be present at this career event for the bio and life sciences, chemistry, food and pharmaceutical industries, organised by FlandersBio.