The originality of the BioHC Graduate School lies in the fact that we are developing a close partnership with Medical and Life Industries: Pharma companies and Biotech-Medtech SME. We consider that the fate of the biotech industry not only concerns the personal well-being of biotech staff and professors who own stocks in companies, but a large population of scientists working in the fields of the clinical research, environment, applied mathematics and bioengineering. Without a biotech-driven job market that creates patent, financial and business advisory offices, there are no future prospects for our diploma, graduate and postdoctoral trainees.
Considering that achieving major breakthroughs in Medical and Life sciences depend on rapid adaptation of training schemes and on long-term investment in cutting-edge research, the BioHC partners combine all relevant scientific disciplines and know-how to provide outstanding expertise for core aspects of Systems Biology. To succeed, the BioHC consortium decided to focus on following key points:
(i) Training and education. A new thinking is emerging across scientific borders, in contrast to the present practice of educating scientists in the classical disciplines. New interdisciplinary BSc, MSc and PhD teaching and training programs are implemented as a matter of urgency to address this issue. In this respect, an open debate with responsible worldwide stakeholders and Partner Universities is initiated.
(ii) Networking of BioHC Partners, to develop the scientific basis for standardization and quality control of methodologies used in system biology, so that data obtained by different research groups can easily be combined. Since heading for a complete understanding of complex biological systems crucially depends on properly handling such data, it is imperative that academia and industry define adequate standards and that these standards are implemented into databases.
(iii) Accessing to facilities and technology development which have been pivotal to the scientific advancement, especially by the field of proteomics & metabolomics, structural biology, imaging, transgenic mice & zebrafish technology, lab-on-chips systems, computing platforms & data analysis and modeling, clinical trials, over the last decade. The rapid evolution of these technologies has a direct impact on the educational needs of young scientists. And as a result a much more diverse cross-disciplinary training and education are crucial.
(iv) Cooperation between industry, academia, hospital and large facilities. All BioHC parties should contribute to and benefit from the program but with a clear understanding of what belongs to the public domain and what is rightfully the proprietary information of private companies. An appropriate and sustainable public-private partnership model has to be developed. Re-evaluation of the notion of intellectual property will be investigated, distinguishing accurately between efforts leading to generic pre-competitive tools and those addressing specific commercial biomedical and biotechnological objectives.
A biotech industry that fails to deliver or runs out of steam will also have a negative impact on our public and academic health-care institutions. Only an integrated relationship between academia, health-care institutions, traditional Pharma and a vigorous Biotech industry has the power to keep the medical sector at a level at which it is not solely engaged in reproducing treatments developed elsewhere—that is, in the USA. If we do not achieve this, medical institutions will become second class.