Getting students to the region is not so much the issue as is keeping them here after graduation.

To that end, the region's academic institutions are taking steps to counter any trend of brain drain. The partnership, Campus Philly, seeks to match students with local employment opportunities and maintains Careerphilly.com, where students can find information on jobs and internships in the region. "We work with the Life Science Career Alliance (a local organization that promotes workforce development), and it tells us that companies are always looking for students who are interested in the careers they have to offer, but they're having a hard time finding (those people)," says Quanda Garrison, senior manager of career programs at Campus Philly.

Universities are limited, to some extent, in what they can do to keep grads from fleeing to other life science hubs. One significant obstacle: PhDs typically don't stick around for their...

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