Since Paula Abdul, Ellen Degeneres and Simon Cowell aren't interested in hosting American Idol anymore, perhaps they could lend their talent assessment abilities to the
Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
. Chamber officials announced this week that they have begun their search for a consultant to help draft a Regional Bioscience Plan to lead Scranton's life sciences sector through the next decade. With or without A-list Hollywood judges, the hunt is on for a consulting firm that hits all the right notes.
After receiving a USDA Rural Enterprise Grant
in July, the chamber has been finalizing its RFP, outlining in detail the most important tenets of a plan. As one of Pennsylvania's largest industries, bioscience is a field that touches universities, health care centers, pharmaceutical companies, patients and thousands of unemployed scientists. With a broad spectrum of possibilities available, Chamber officials believe that the winning consultant will be one that can distill all of these sectors down and light the path to a better bioscience future.
"Rather than be specific as to what we want to accomplish, its more open ended," says Chamber President Phil Condron. "The RFP asks the professionals to come in, to review what's available and what we already have in place, and tell us what is the best avenue to set up a bioscience initiative here."
Condron and his associates have identified 20 different consulting firms, all with experience in the field of bioscience and strategic planning, to vie for the job. But since releasing the RFP, the Chamber has received interest from a number of additional firms looking to contribute. Plan Administrator Amy Luyster is not counting anyone out as the right collaborator must not only possess unique planning skills and a sense of a prosperous biotech future, but must be able to work with many disparate interests. The Rural Enterprise Grant specifies a bioscience plan that touches an eight-county region, including input and direction from education, business, economic development and
government partners from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Wayne, Pike,
Susquehanna, Schuylkill and Wyoming Counties. It's a big job, but somebody has to do it.
"When we originally sat down to develop this RFP, we brought to the table people from economic development, from the colleges and universities, from existing bioscience companies, asking them to participate," says Luyster. "It is extremely important to have all these communities involved for this plan to work."Source: Amy Luyster, Scranton Chamber of CommerceWriter: John Steele