Maryland is in an enviable position with regard to biotechnology-related resources that encourages and supports entrepreneurial efforts. Academic institutions, federal laboratories, a committed county department of economic development and a unique small business have developed an effective consortium to leverage these resources. The potential for human capital to support this entrepreneurial growth is further augmented by the number of graduate and postdoctoral programs available in the region.
Ironically, a significant steady decrease in the availability of academic positions for new graduate and post-graduate level scientists has created an additional talent resource pool for new and existing biotechnology companies. Despite these significant human capital resources, traditional academic graduate and post-graduate training do not focus on teaching the business leadership and management skills that are required to attain successful industry scientist-level positions. This confluence of circumstances was the catalyst for a unique and highly synergistic consortium to help remedy this situation
The consortium, which consists of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Federal Lab Consortium (FLC), Montgomery College, Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES), Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, and Human Workflows, LLC, combined forces to develop a novel training certificate program focused on teaching academic scientists the business leadership and management skills necessary to be successful in industry.
The program consists of 45 credit-hours offered through an executive-level, fourteen week course that teaches academic and research scientists the business skills that are valued by industry. Unlike more traditional generic business management offerings, the modules of this "CSO Bootcamp" on leadership, negotiation, line management, finance, project management and communications have been customized to emphasize how each of these skill sets impacts scientists functioning in an industry setting. The result is the development of a pool of skilled, highly-focused, science management leaders who can fast-track in industry positions, regardless if they choose a management or research track, and provide a pipeline to provide leadership necessary to staff and propel important science and technology businesses into the future.
This course is unique in many aspects:
- It is designed with a postdoc or a PhD student's needs in mind: the tuition is inexpensive in comparison to other business and management courses. Offered on Saturdays, the course should not interfere with full time work.
- The personalized self assessments used at the beginning and end of the course, help each student identify his or her unique strengths and weaknesses.
- The course is an amazing example of collaboration between stakeholders.
- The course is reproducible elsewhere.