Five key tips for building a winning team and capitalising on the biomanufacturing boom

Over the past 12 months, conferences and events across Australia – and the Life Science Queensland (LSQ) Future of Health series in particular – have pointed to an imminent boom in biomanufacturing. 

Guest speakers, panels, government and industry representatives alike have been buzzing with excitement over the extraordinary opportunities the boom will bring, and the much-anticipated influx of financial support it is likely to generate. A fair amount of discussion has also centred on the challenges it poses, with emphasis on the need for strategic planning and recruitment.

Australia poised to take full advantage of the boom

Australia’s biomanufacturing landscape has flourished over the past decade, and the sector continues to grow as the need to convert traditional fossil-fuel-based manufacturing processes into sustainable biofueled ones escalates. Biomanufacturing plays a key, global role in a wide range of valuable processes and products spanning pharmaceuticals, industrial applications, biofuels, bioplastics, biopharmaceuticals, food ingredients, cosmetics, and personal care items, impacting industries such as healthcare, energy, and food production.

Our research excellence, innovation capabilities, world-class universities and outstanding clinical trial capabilities are held in high regard. And the sector enjoys streamlined and globally recognised regulatory pathways that expedite studies, allowing our scientists to translate research from bench to bedside in good time. 

Growing environmental concerns lead to unprecedented funding 

With the environmental clock ticking, and a strong demand for more sustainable manufacturing processes coming from all corners, Australian biomanufacturing has seen a dramatic increase in funding from both the government and private sector.

In 2023, Australian biomedical research and biomanufacturing received a substantial boost with the establishment of the A$20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and the A$1.5 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF).

Government has also introduced new R&D tax incentives for biotech firms and set up The Biomedical Translation Fund – a public-private partnership that provides venture capital for biomedical innovation.

Additionally, a growing number of private firms are actively building strategic partnerships and supporting local biomanufacturing with several hundred million dollars in investments. 

And the projected return on investment is extremely impressive. The expansion of Australia’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities and establishment of a new facility in Victoria, for instance, are expected to yield more than A$8 billion in gross value-added, as well as A$12 billion in manufacturing exports. 

What does Australia’s success mean for our biomanufacturing workforce?

Over 25 years as a scientific recruitment specialist, I have attended plenty of biomanufacturing-focused events, and a resounding theme at each event is that, regardless of how well funded it may be, the sector cannot maintain its high standards, and live up to its reputation for delivering exceptional outcomes, without sourcing and investing in outstanding talent. 

PEOPLE are the driving force behind it all. As Christine L. writes in her Biro Strategy blog post, ‘Building a world-class workforce with the requisite skills in bioengineering, bioinformatics, and biomanufacturing is paramount.’ 

How can we attract top tier biomanufacturing talent? 

  1. Create strong ties to Australia’s globally recognised universities 

A strong focus on building a substantial workforce through strategic planning is key to achieving success during the upcoming biomanufacturing boom. But where to begin? 

The obvious and much-touted answer is to look to universities, and this is an excellent first step. 

Australian universities provide access to some of the world's best minds. Newly minted graduates, bring fresh ideas and the latest knowledge to your organisation. And the Australian Government is investing heavily in university-industry partnerships with the A$2.2 billion University Research Commercialisation Package. 

But… Biomanufacturing is not a nine-to-five job. It calls for a high level of commitment from people willing to work in demanding environments that require flexibility, resilience, and, at times, unsociable hours. As a result, our scientific recruitment specialists have come to expect a measure of fallout – especially among university graduates or first-time employees. 

What’s more, even the brightest graduates require levels of training, mentorship and leadership that can only come from seasoned professionals. And there’s the rub: If you only focus on hiring graduates, who will train them?

  1. Think bigger: Look beyond graduates to recruit leaders

Organisations looking to become major players in biomanufacturing should cast the net far and wide to secure a good mix of young and experienced national and global talent, including upstream and downstream bioprocess scientists, engineers, production specialists, quality professionals, regulatory professionals, and automation experts – to name a few. 

Make a conscientious effort to find seasoned talented and confident decision-makers and whistle-blowers, who will positively challenge processes, implement proven efficiencies and contribute meaningfully to the overall success of your enterprise.

  1. Encourage a spirit of mentorship and knowledge sharing

Throughout the hiring process, screen for candidates who are ready and willing to share their knowledge and expertise with others as well as being open to the fresh ideas that younger, less experienced team members have to offer. 

Hiring in this way ensures that each new crop of graduate scientists and engineers receive the training necessary to excel in their roles. Younger team members are able to tackle new challenges with confidence, while seasoned specialists encourage them to share and implement new ideas that drive innovation.

The resulting cycle of growth and development ensures optimal productivity and out-of-the-box thinking by thoroughly trained biomanufacturing professionals across all levels of the company. 

  1. Focus on workplace diversity

In biomanufacturing, as in all innovation-driven sectors, there are immeasurable benefits to be reaped by those who hire with an eye to diversity. 

A good cross-section of people from different age groups, cultures, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, sexual identities, and diverse intelligence levels will give you the edge over your competitors. 

  1. Extend your reach and access an exceptional talent pool by partnering with a science recruitment agent

A professional science recruitment agent has the industry insight, knowledge and experience to source and screen talented, experienced and seasoned candidates and fit the right candidate to the right role. So, you’ll have time to focus on what you do best – running your enterprise.

Gathering your partners

Of course, partnering with local universities will help you gain access to some of Australia’s progressive talent. I highly recommend that you also talk to a scientific recruitment partner. Seek a collaborative, consultative relationship, one that will help you strategise and offer productive advice and guidance. Open your organisation up to accessing the best possible team, one that will take your organisation to new heights, enhancing your overall global impact in transforming biomanufacturing. 

Seasoned scientific recruitment agents do more than simply help companies to fill vacancies; they partner with talent acquisition leaders and company CEOs/COOs to create effective overall talent strategies, based on the unique requirements of your business.

Most importantly, they think big – going beyond the university gates to consult extensive national and international networks, sourcing the very best candidates in Australia, New Zealand or overseas.

Guest post written by:

Kerry McMahon


KE Select Pty Ltd

+61 412 033 014

KE Select established in 2012.

Specialist Scientific Recruitment Agency, offices, Australia, and UK.


Business opportunities in Australia: Industries & technologies: Health and life sciences, Australian Government, Australian Trade and Investment Commission, 2023, visited on 27 March 2024,

Biomanufacturing: How Biology is Driving Manufacturing into the Future, ATS, (n.d.), visited on 27 March 2024,

The emergence of biomanufacturing in Australia, Christina L., BIRO STRATEGY, August 9, 2023, visited on 27 March 2024,

What the National Synthetic Biology Roadmap means for Australian manufacturing, CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform, 28 October 2021, Visited 27 March 2024,

Biologicals, World Health Organization, 2024, visited on 27 March 2024,

What Are "Biologics" Questions and Answers, U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), 2 June 2018, visited on 27 March 2024,

The Australian Government’s research translation and commercialisation agenda is a $2.2 billion investment to place university innovation and industry collaboration front and centre of Australia’s economic recovery. Australian Government Department of Education, 1 February 2024, visited on 27 March 2024,

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