With plenty of opportunities in biotechnology and its allied fields — including healthcare, computational biology, agriculture and bioinformatics — the sunrise sector has lots in store for students keen on specialising in an area.

Academicians, however, ask students to look beyond the conventional job of scientist or researcher, and instead, give entrepreneurship in biotechnology a shot.

This was one of the major points highlighted by speakers at a seminar organised by the British Council in Chennai recently.

“There are approximately 450 biotech companies in the U.K. Most of these firms are small and started by a group of lecturers or students, where they work on the idea, gain funding and launch it in the market,” said Philip J. Collier, Director of Research Degrees and senior lecturer in biotechnology and microbiology, University of Abertay Dundee.

Interestingly, most of these companies have started small and cater to a niche market. “Consider opting for an entrepreneurial-related degree in biotechnology. All what you need is to have a good idea, get it funded, take it out to the market and get the patent right for it. That’s the future of biotechnology not just in the U.K. but everywhere,” stressed Mr. Collier.

To encourage students to acquire skills in entrepreneurship and biotechnology, some of the universities have started offering specialised course too. University of Exeter, for instance, offers master’s programme in Biotechnology and Enterprise. “This is aimed at scientists, so that they can take up business or look at it commercially,” says Clive Butler, senior lecturer in biochemistry, University of Exeter.

In addition to “pharmaceutical, environmental and applied biotechnology,” the curriculum covers modules in business and entrepreneurship.

Another emerging area is MBA in Biotechnology, which professors say many universities in the U.K. are offering.

Getting scholarship

Every student wants to get a scholarship to lessen the burden on their tuition fee. But with competition increasing, bagging even some pounds can be difficult at times. For those looking to get scholarship in biotech course in the U.K, make sure you have above 70 per cent marks. Other winning points include a defined goal, enthusiasm and interest. Remember experience certificate/letter of having attended different conferences on biotechnology does enhance your chances, say faculty members.