CSU Receives Federal Grant to Establish Biotechnology Center in Pasadena

 

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(Sept. 29, 2008) -- The California State University Program for Research and Education in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) has received a Small Business Administration earmark grant in the amount of $280,000 to establish a biotechnology training center in Pasadena to serve the needs of the regional life sciences industry in the greater Los Angeles area. 

The CSU Biotechnology Center is a public-private partnership between eight CSU campuses in Southern California, the Southern California Biomedical Council, the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative, and Pasadena City College.  The Center will focus on coordinating workforce delivery systems and providing industry-specific training to help bridge the gap between current educational offerings and the skill sets needed by biotechnology companies. 

With assistance from Congressman Adam Schiff (D-29), the grant is part of a larger $6 million request by the CSU for federal funds to establish a total of three centers, one in each of the state’s regions with the high concentration of biotechnology companies.  In addition to the Pasadena location, CSU biotechnology centers are planned for the Bay area, and San Diego.

The life sciences industry represents one of the nation’s most promising high tech growth industries in terms of job creation, entry level opportunities, wage growth and career path possibilities.  To sustain the current lead in global life science, there is a need to develop a specialized workforce with knowledge of the industry’s regulated environment, clinical product development, and production requirements that lead to safe and effective therapies, devices and diagnostics.  The life sciences industry has endorsed the need for industry-responsive training programs, recognizing that 80 percent of the research and testing workforce is made up of professionals at the masters’ degree level or lower.

Together, the three regional centers will serve small biotechnology companies by providing direct, industry-responsive training programs and access to applied research laboratories and facilities, while also serving communities as a clearinghouse for job placement and career development.  The centers will offer practical, cutting-edge laboratory experiences, short-term workshops, specialized courses and programs taught within the context of the regulated business environment unique to this industry.  The centers will also facilitate training and placement of highly skilled individuals – from entry-level technical staff through career scientists – in the biotechnology industry and other relevant fields.

The initial $280,000 start up grant will be used by the CSU Pasadena Biotechnology Center to establish a website to highlight and coordinate existing life sciences industry-specific curriculum offerings, and articulation paths in biotechnology throughout the CSU and the California Community college systems.  In addition, the grant will be used to develop and implement two new Biotechnology Project Management certificates, one in quality assurance and one in clinical trials, and establish a networking center for both connections and outreach to small biotech business in the region.

The lead regional CSU campuses for the Pasadena location will be Cal State Los Angeles, Fullerton, Pomona, Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, San Bernardino and Northridge.

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Created in 1987, CSUPERB provides vision, leadership and support for biotechnology education and research throughout the CSU to promote biotechnology in California.  CSUPERB supports innovative coursework, real-world research experiences, and core resources for students and faculty across all 23 CSU campuses.  The program involves students and faculty from biology, chemistry, engineering, agriculture, business and computer science departments.  CSUPERB provides grant funding, organizes an annual symposium, sponsors industry-responsive curriculum, and serves as a liaison for government and biotechnology industry partners. 

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.