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Diversity Critical to Building Rich Bioscience Centers

March 26, 2013
Whether producing natural gas from coal or creating lifesaving medicines, unique experiences are what often lead to great discoveries. The more diverse the backgrounds and interests of those working in life sciences, the richer our discoveries are bound to be.

Considering the diversity of our country, it’s not surprising that the U.S. is the most prolific country in the world in terms of life science or bioscience discoveries. And many of these are happening right here in Chicago – a rapidly growing life science center for healthcare as well as agricultural, industrial and environmental advances.

Chicago values the opportunity to host the 2013 BIO International Convention this year and to learn from and interact with the thousands of attendees who represent a diverse group of leaders and thinkers from around the world who are investigating countless different questions as well as approaching the same questions in many different ways.

African Americans, Hispanics, women and individuals with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in many areas of life sciences. Life sciences is an in-demand field, and as a whole, we need to do a better job of teaching our youngest students that science and math can truly be fun. During BIO, the University of Illinois Chicago in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Medical District and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, will cut the ribbon to a brand new facility – the UIC Health Technology Incubator. This 11,000 square foot facility will provide wet labs, meeting space and offices to spur the next generation of biotechnology.

Attracting a diverse and top talent pool is a key focus for The Illinois Medical District, which is the largest urban medical district in the country and home to four major hospitals and two universities. The District has capacity for growth and has initiatives in place to help life sciences companies thrive. We are working to establish a fiber optic network, a contract research organization (CRO), and build out 55 of acres of land to offer premiere space to entities interested in joining the District.

As executive director of the Illinois Medical District Commission, Warren Ribley is responsible for spurring business development to drive research innovation, economic growth and improved health care for the community.

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