A life sciences summit in Wellington next March will be
crucial for the future growth of the New Zealand
The inaugural March 22-23 event, run by
BioTechNZ , will unite
Aotearoa’s life sciences and biotech communities across
all sectors including agriculture, environment, industrial
as well as human health, BioTechNZ executive director Dr
Zahra Champion says.
“Our objective is to recognise
the advantages in life sciences when complemented with
biotech to solve some of the biggest challenges we face on
“We will be having a panel of New
Zealand’s future leaders at
the summit to hear how New Zealand can attract and
retain talent in the rise of the bioeconomy.
is further support needed for biotech to access and train
more support for this important work, and for New Zealand,
talent shortage is severe.
“New Zealand Statistics
say that less young Kiwi women are doing stem subjects, and
then ones that do don’t make it thought to senior
positions. The gender gap must be closed.
can boost performance by reversing this trend.
Gender-diverse companies are 48 percent more likely to
outperform the least gender-diverse.
“There has been
an increased focus on gender parity in new hires and on
greater equality in executive roles. But companies may be
missing another critical moment: equitable advancement in
“Across all industries and roles,
women are promoted at a slower rate than men. Indeed, only
86 women are promoted to manager for every 100 men at the
same level, according to McKinsey’s women in the workplace
“Venture capital firms such as Brandon
Capital, Bridgewest Ventures, Global Bio Fund, Pacific
Channel and BioPacific Partners are leading the charge in
creating initiatives that support women into senior biotech
“Diversity is especially crucial in these
roles to help debias the technologies that make up an
ever-present and evolving component of modern
“We need to better understand the barriers
that impede women in tech roles from earning early
Early promotions in a career are most
critical to success, and yet for the past eight years,
McKinsey research has consistently shown that women lose
ground in the step up to manager.
Biotech, or the
application of our knowledge of the genome to engineer
organisms with beneficial traits, enables new solutions to
today’s challenges, Dr Champion says.
Fourth Industrial Revolution, which adds the tools of
molecular biotechnology to humanity’s toolbox, promises
similar improvements in wellbeing as those that were
delivered by previous technological
“But some public fear of biotech, in
spite of the tremendous advances it has already provided,
may prevent these innovations from having the impact they
“The biotechnology industry must
substantially increase its efforts to educate and engage the
public to ensure that biotechnology truly lives up to its
“We must continue to educate the public,
regulators, and other industries about the potential of the
sector. This means actively participating in the development
of regulatory processes for these evolving technologies and
the benefits that it