The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has warned that Britain suffers from a lack of skilled science graduates.
The industry body reported that whilst the government remained committed to the sciences in industry and education, a survey found that the country was severely lacking in expertise within in vivo biology, clinical pharmacology and chemistry.
Other research found that life scientists increasingly suffer from a lack of higher mathematics skills, as well as gaps in knowledge that are useful to the industry. It said that many university graduates lacked good "hands on" laboratory experience, whilst the number of work experience places and science lecturers are also both on the decline.
Dr Philip Wright, director of science and technology at ABPI, said that the report should serve as a "call to action" to rectify skill shortages.
"The government has been a real champion for science," he commented, "but if the UK economy, especially the research-based pharmaceutical industry, is to flourish then we need to work more intensively with government to equip the next generation with the skills to succeed."
The report also calls for the establishment of a vocational science diploma for 14-19 year olds, and suggests that the government should pursue the teaching of in vivo science within schools.