Research parks, higher ed get together

Counties support jobs and growth by bringing academics, biotech entrepreneurs together.

Everyone knows that biotech is the business of the future. Now biotech labs and higher education are getting together, inviting apprentices to beef up their education at research parks along the Washington corridor, reports The Washington Post.

The Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, a collaboration between Johns Hopkins Medical Center and the University System of Maryland, was built with help from local counties.

Lab manager Michael Luce has been at the Montgomery (Md.) County satellite campus of Johns Hopkins University at Shady Grove for two years, and says he's had a wide variety of apprentices.

"I've had a 65-year-old with a PhD in chemistry," said Luce, who also teaches in the school's biotechnology program. "Just the other day, I had an attorney come in. She wanted help translating some technical stuff in a case. It's been real diverse," says Luce.

With the rapid change in the industry due to advances in computers, there is a demand for highly skilled workers in a variety of areas. Independent labs are starting to work cooperatively in order to remain competitive with international companies such as Biopolis, a state-of-the-art research park in Singapore.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is opening a research park called Janelia Farm Research Campus, and the University of Maryland is building BioPark, a 10-acre bioscience center in the downtown neighborhood of Poppleton.

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