June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.268.1 - 15.268.7
Center for Life Sciences Technology – A Model for Integration of Education, Research, Outreach and Workforce Development Abstract
The biotechnology industry that originated in the 1970’s has since mushroomed from $8 billion in revenues in 1992 to $50.7 billion and is one of the most research intensive industries in the world. While biotechnology originated based largely on recombinant DNA techniques, tremendous research in biotechnology has led to the convergence of advanced technologies in engineering, biological sciences and information technology. Based in the University of Houston’s College of Technology, the Center for life Sciences Technology (CLiST) is positioned to be a key component in statewide effort to support the biotechnology and Life Sciences industry in Texas. The Center’s blend of academic, research, outreach and workforce is unique and serves as a model for industry-academic collaboration focused on preparing 21st century workforce. The goals of the center are:
1. Provide interdisciplinary research based educational programs
2. Conduct outreach programs to nurture Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education
3. Foster a collaborative environment to support the biotech industry through training, research and best practice sharing.
4. Engage in high impact research with an emphasis on environmental biotechnology.
The first initiative of the center was to establish a new undergraduate major in biotechnology. This new degree program was developed in collaboration with industry and academic partners and offers two tracks, one in bioinformatics and the other in bioprocessing. The laboratory curriculum is a research -based curriculum and uses a pesticide degrading bacteria as a model to train students on techniques and applications of biotechnology. In summer, we offer outreach programs to train high school teachers and students. For local incumbent biotech workers, we offer workforce development certificate courses to help them stay current and upgrade their skills. The Center provides access to space, expertise and equipment to local biotech companies and serves as a platform for innovation and institutional collaboration.
The U. S Department of Labor has identified Biotechnology as one of the high profile growth industries in the nation. The state of Texas has also identified Biotechnology as one of the six primary clusters for Texas. However, despite significant strengths Texas has comparatively few companies working in these areas. This is reflected in the relatively small workforce in Texas, about 10,000, which is less than 4% of the national workforce in the Biotech and Life Sciences
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