The biotechnology sector is growing and graduate students in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Master's Program in Biotechnology are ready to build their careers (and Birmingham's biotech future) on that promise. While there are several innovative business-science hybrid master's programs that have emerged recently in the US (see our two April 12 blogs), UA's is the first in the South and unique in its approach.
More than a management training program for scientists (which it is), the UA Biotechnology degree course pairs students with UA-based startups that need management expertise and business labor (for filing patents, for example). This win-win situation is facilitated through a partnership with the UAB Research Foundation which manages the University's intellectual property and promotes its most promising technologies. Graduates of the program have real hands-on business experience and can now attract biotechnology businesses to Birmingham. In fact, the program was initiated two years ago in response to Birmingham losing a bid to host a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. The company cited fears that the city would not be able to produce the trained workforce it needed.