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Measuring the Effectiveness of Global Immersive Study Tours to Attract Non-Scientific Working Professionals to the Bio-Enterprise

Author(s): Moira A. Gunn, Paul V. Lorton.

Abstract:

While the focus in the global biotechnology industry is often on scientific breakthroughs, emergent industry trends suggest that bio-enterprise success requires essential non-scientific expertise. This includes business, law, government and information systems, with an orientation to cross-disciplinary insights within the life science industry as a whole. This paper documents recent industry research on workforce need, and utilizes the Bio-Enterprise Innovation Expertise Model (BIEM) as a basis for the spectrum of expertise needed in the science-to-product life cycle. As the BIEM model drives the courses taught in the Business of Biotechnology (BoB) Program at the University of San Francisco (USF), and since these courses serve both science and non-science working professionals, the authors posited that student experience might be examined to measure attitudinal changes in relevant expertise areas along with cross-disciplinary insights. If non-science students registered statistically significant increases in confidence levels, the likelihood of entering the bio-enterprise workforce would arguably be increased. One-week BoB immersive study tours were selected for assessment, and adjustments made within the ongoing Gunn-Lorton Attitudinal Surveys (GLAS) Project, which seeks to measure STEM++ avoidance/affinity attitudes. Confidence levels were recorded both pre-and post-study tours in six (6) areas: general business, bio-business, information systems, law, federal government and science. Four (4) study tours reflecting 48 student experiences were evaluated. All non-science, first-time BoB students registered a statistically significant rise in confidence with respect to bio-business, signaling a rise in affinity for the biotechnology industry. All degree programs tested: MBA, JD/MBA, MSIS and PSM/Biotechnology, registered statistically significant confidence increases in every expertise area not central to students’ primary field of study, wherein confidence remained essentially unchanged. Qualitative measures confirmed appreciation for cross-disciplinary expertise. This research demonstrates that academic programs based on the BIEM expertise model can meet emergent industry needs for both non-science and science professionals.

Keywords: BIEM, Bio-Enterprise Innovation Expertise Model, bio-entrepreneurship education, BoB, Business of Biotechnology Program, immersive study tours, industry-relevant education, non-science bio-entrepreneurship skills, professional skills development.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 1
ISSUE: 2
Year: 2014
Page: [117 - 131]
Pages: 15
DOI: 10.2174/221380990102140926121654