Educating Scientists and Engineers

Posted on October 29, 2006  Comments (0)

Business Week has an articles discussing what business would like to see from graduates, Biotech’s Beef:

The problem is a disconnect between what universities are teaching and what biotech wants. “The focus of academia is getting basic and theoretical knowledge in place,”

There are several weaknesses. First, recent grads lack the technical knowledge to carry out applied research in areas that straddle engineering, math, and computers. Second, job candidates have little awareness of what the Food & Drug Administration is looking for when it considers whether or not to approve a drug. Recent grads simply aren’t familiar with issues such as quality control and regulatory affairs.

This general idea is not new. But, as always (and probably more so if the nature of what is needed is changing faster today than in the past) the changing environment does require universities (and students, at least those that want to work in industry) to adapt.

But with H-1B quotas filling up earlier every year, Invitrogen has chosen to do more drug development in Japan, China, and India. It may also open facilities in Korea and Singapore, says Rodney Moses, Invitrogen’s vice-president of talent acquisition. Compensation in China and India is lower than in the U.S., but that’s not what motivates the move offshore, says Moses. “If the talent is located in Singapore, it’s just easier for us to go there.”

U.S. colleges take the problem seriously. State university systems in California, Wisconsin, and elsewhere are adding more industry-oriented classes.

Related: Engineering the Future EconomyDiplomacy and Science ResearchEngineers in the WorkplacePhony Science Gap?Economic Benefits and Science Higher EducationThe Economic Benefits of Math

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