Biotechnology company Biocon Ltd. has entered the arena of education by setting up a new centre of advanced learning for biosciences students.

The new arm, Biocon Academy, will start 16-week certificate courses in applied biosciences for engineering and science graduates from January 2014, Biocon’s chairman and managing director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw told presspersons here on Monday.

A large number of biotechnology graduates did not have the skills necessary to be employed in the industry. The initiative was aimed at making them employable through advanced and industry-relevant training. “The initiative is aimed at developing a new cadre of life sciences professionals,” she said.

Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw said the biotechnology industry grew at over 20 per cent in the last decade; each year, 40,000 biotech students pass out of 725 institutions in the country. However, 2,000 of them or barely 5 per cent are readily employable.

According to Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw, the academy has tied up with California-based Keck Graduate Institute to offer the Biocon KGI certificate programme in nine modules or study areas in biosciences based on the Keck model. Enrolments for the first batch of 25 opened on Monday. The academy will operate from Biocon’s second campus in Bommasandra and have faculty drawn from Keck, Biocon and industry. Each course costs Rs. 1.5 lakh. Biocon would offer merit scholarships and enable students to get employed with it or other leading companies, she said. Karnataka IT and BT secretary Srivatsa Krishna said the State had also initiated an advanced biotechnology institute to bridge the talent gap.

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