Anticipating Digital Transformation of the Drug Development Workforce

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The continued contribution of the drug development community toward improving the quality of lives of patients, researchers, and the public at large, is and will continue to be highly dependent upon the careful execution of strategies to make vast amounts of data meaningful and usable. This is achievable by pairing data with powerful analytics and then using those insights to develop safe and effective processes and products. Although the drug development enterprise is undergoing major transformation, literature about what the sector should do to support and prepare its workforce for these changes is scant. What follows is a discussion of original research conducted by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (Tufts CSDD) to address workforce development in the era of digitization. The research is primarily based on an in-depth discussion with thought leaders and senior executives. Tufts CSDD identified recurring themes for discussion in articles in academic journals and the trade press between 2015 and 2019. Discussion topics included: (1) challenges and opportunities caused by the sector's digital transformation, (2) skills and competencies of future drug development professionals, (3) new roles that are expected to emerge within drug development, (4) changes in talent recruitment and retention practices, and (5) the reshaping of corporate mindsets and cultures to become digitally proficient organizations.

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