In recent years Maine’s life science industry has played an increasingly important role in Maine’s economy. This diverse industry contributes over 7,400 jobs to the state’s economy, over $1.5 billion to the state’s GRP, and represents 5% of Maine’s total exports.
The Bioscience Association of Maine (BioME), a statewide industry trade organization, works to advance economic growth and opportunities within the industry through advocacy and education. Camoin 310 was retained by BioME to contribute data and analytics to the organization’s 2019 Industry Report. Camoin worked with BioME to define the industry and collect and interpret a variety of data related to jobs and earnings; investment in the industry. This included data from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and data on SBIR/STTR awards, venture capital; higher education research and development; and patents issued. This research process included a comparison of Maine’s life science industry to the overall economy in the state, as well as benchmarked metrics to compare the industry’s performance and presence in Maine to the other New England states.
Our research reveals that the future of Maine’s life science industry is promising. Job growth in the industry has significantly outpaced overall job growth in the state and the jobs that are created have a ripple effect throughout the economy. For every job created by the life science industry, 1.71 jobs are created in other industries in Maine. Additionally, the industry has shown an increasing propensity to attract funding and investment from a number of public and private sources and is responsible for nearly a quarter of Maine’s total patents.
So, what can be learned for economic developers wishing to measure and benchmark their life science related economy? The following are critical steps along the process:
Define what you mean by life sciences – there are many part of the life sciences economy including manufacturing, R&D, healthcare, and education. Many of the specific subsectors overlap with other sectors such as food, marine research, basic healthcare, and more. There is no one best definition and you should define based on your own local and regional assets and goals.
- Select the data variables based on what you want to measure – in doing so you will need to take into consideration what data is readily available and can be used for historic trends as well as for benchmarking against other areas.
- Select your benchmark geographies – who do you want to compare yourself to? – consider neighboring geographies as well as geographies with similar demographics and assets in other part of the country.
- Tabulate the data and produce findings.