20 Jun NSF grant to fund biotech training at MATC
Madison, Wis. – Madison Area Technical College announced on Monday they have received a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a new biotechnology skills certificate program.
The new post-baccalaureate program is designed to offer MATC students a chance to develop their functional laboratory and documentation skills. MATC will open the semester-long program to students in spring of 2006.
“The focus of the certificate is to provide for individuals who will be looking to get jobs in the field,” said Joy McMillan, director of the Center for New and Converging Technologies at MATC. “It helps to keep the workforce flexible.”
The new course is designed for students that have already have earned a bachelor of science degree in biology or a related field, but are more oriented towards theories and research than mass production.
During the program, students will learn operating procedures of a laboratory setting, working with lab instruments and perfecting how to measure and document their procedures. They will familiarize themselves with the troubleshooting procedures, learning how to repair minor problems with the technology and how to avoid major problems.
McMillan said that mastering these skills will help graduates move into companies that are less focused on research and development and more on actually making a product. It is important to teach these skills to students because many of them do not get the chance to work on undergraduate research and need those functional skills down the road.
“If it’s a product going to be involved in human applications and you’re dealing with all kings of regulations the FDA has, you have to know what you did today is what you did yesterday … it’s exact, it’s regulated, it’s documented,” McMillan said.
The new certificate will also fit into Bio-Link, an advanced technology education initiative which helps link biotechnology training initiatives throughout the country. MATC serves as the north central regional center for Bio-Link.
“It really is a focus on two-year colleges and the kind of educational programming that exists in the country, connecting them and helping them stay on top,” McMillan said of Bio-Link.
The new grant is the fourth for MATC from the NSF, totaling more than $2.4 million for biotechnology education. NSF has given MATC more than $3.5 million for their work in biotechnology, renewable energy, metrology and information technology.