Editorial-The DEB is a unique graduate program to enhance your PhD experience
By Dr. Judy Kjelstrom, director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program and Program Coordinator of the DEB graduate program (www.deb.ucdavis.edu)
I recently co-authored a journal article showcasing this innovative graduate program which was established in 1997. We currently have 225 PhD students from 29 graduate programs. The title of this manuscript was “A Collaborative Model for Biotechnology Education and Training”.
Recent reports and a careful analysis of the job market for doctoral graduates suggest that innovative approaches and training models are needed to realign educational practices with 21st century marketplace demands. The Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (DEB) is a successful model for meeting current training challenges in life science and engineering doctoral programs, which includes formalized coursework, informal training in team-based science, entrepreneurship and effective science communication, and exposure to “real world” research environments via internship experiences. The DEB program is effective not only because of carefully designed curriculum and training activities, but because it is nested within a robust innovation ecosystem, including administrative centers and institutes focused on creating public-private partnerships and brokering new technologies. Within the environment of a technology hub, universities and private partners can bring together diverse groups of individuals to translate ideas into real world applications. This environment gives rise to a social networking mechanism that links the intellectual and human capital of the university with the financial and social capital of the regional marketplace.
Our success is being recognized at the State and National level. I was invited to speak at the Annual California Biomedical Innovation Night on Feb 9, 2012. The focus of my talk was how the DEB graduate program is a successful graduate program that links academia to industry and government. http://californiahealthcareinstitute.blogspot.com/2012/02/speaker-spotlight-judith-kjelstrom-phd.html
As a result of this speaking opportunity, I was interviewed for an article for Science Careers. The focus of the article was how PhD programs can link students to the real world. This is a similar article to the one that was published by Nature Reviews in March 2008. http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v7/n3/full/nrd2542.html.
The DEB program was also featured in the 2010 California Biomedical Industry Report by CHI (California Healthcare Institute) as well as an article by Nicole Guimond Gravagna, PhD candidate in Neuroscience, University of Colorado, Denver. The title of the article was “Creating alternatives in science” in the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology (2009) 15, 161 – 170. doi: 10.1057/jcb.2008.51; published online 18 November 2008..
UC Davis and its partners are addressing the need for innovation and entrepreneurship in graduate education and training. By bringing diverse experts from the life sciences, engineering, humanities and business community together, we have built an innovation ecosystem capable of accelerating the translation of research discoveries into real world applications.