There is a "knowledge transfer time gap" between industry and education and training. The time scales in education and industry are substantially different. Education at HEIs is validated by national agencies on a quadrennial or quinquennial basis and thus tends to change slowly. Industry in order to remain competitive may need to change direction and policy within months. This situation requires that the educational system be capable of adapting within a narrow time frame in order to produce the right person with the right competences at the right time. The missing link for such a development is a system whereby HEIs can obtain regular and rapid feedback from industry on what they should be teaching and how; and this in the light of the size of the industry (big pharma, SME...), its activity (R&D, marketing, chemical manufacture, medical devises...), the local/national socio-economic context, etc.
The present, innovative Phar-IN proposal will develop a DELPHI tool for such a feedback process offering a rapid reaction in a quickly evolving field with the possibility for creation of cutting edge courses and their validation. The whole will be tested in the field of biotechnology for medicines production.
More than 325 million patients have benefited from approved medicines manufactured through biotechnology (and gene technology) to treat or prevent heart attacks, stroke, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, leukaemia, hepatitis, diabetes and other diseases. Today, 418 new biotech medicines and vaccines are being tested for more than 100 diseases, among which 210 to treat cancer, 50 to treat infectious diseases and 44 to treat autoimmune disorders. Biotech medicines are estimated to account for approximately 20% of all marketed medicines and represent 50% of all medicines in the pipeline. In 2005 the industry in Europe comprised some 1,600 companies and represented revenues of approximately EURO8 billion. In 2009 this had grown to 1,834 EU biotech companies employing 48,660 people with a EURO12 billion revenue.
Albeit, whilst the rapidly advancing European biotech industry is of world class, the translation of the research and developments in the area into education and training are but poorly advanced. Higher education institutes have to be able to provide highly-skilled people with the new skills needed to find a new job in the biotechnological area.