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New BRET course offers scientists business, management training

Feb. 4, 2016, 9:29 AM

When it comes to discovery, scientists are among the smartest people around. They may not be as skilled at managing their labs or businesses, however.

That’s why the Biomedical Research Education and Training (BRET) Office of Career Development at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is offering this spring a pilot module entitled “Management and Business Principles for Scientists.”

Twenty-four graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the biomedical sciences are enrolled in the semester-long module, which is supported by a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation to Kathy Gould, Ph.D., associate dean for Biomedical Sciences.

The module was developed by Gould in collaboration with Robert Carnahan, Ph.D., associate professor of Cancer Biology and director of the Vanderbilt Antibody and Protein Resource; and BRET Career Development Director Kim Petrie, Ph.D.

They have partnered with Joe Rando, MBA, a lecturer in managerial studies in the College of Arts and Science, and with directors of some of the research cores to create a mix of interactive didactic sessions and small team-based projects designed to find solutions to “real-world” problems.

The emphasis is on development of skills in accounting and financial reporting, hiring and training, data management, advertising and operations.

Halfway through the module, local biotech entrepreneurs will share their experiences during a half-day retreat.

Today’s scientists pursue a wide range of career options.

“A lot of them are interested in areas of business and entrepreneurship,” said Gould, the Louise B. McGavock Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and director of Graduate Student Support.

Even for careers in academia, Ph.D. training should be more than scientific training, she said.

Participating cores also may benefit, Petrie noted, as students may analyze in their team projects whether, for example, it makes good financial sense to offer a new service.

For more information, visit the BRET Career Development website at https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/career-development.

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