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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 10, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 17
SPSBE Launches Leadership/Management Program in Life Sciences

Douglas Hough, chair of SPSBE's Business of Health program, was asked by SOM leadership to develop the new certificate program for young scientists.

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Faced with growing competition for academic positions, men and women trained in the life sciences increasingly turn to employment in industry, consulting firms and foundations. While recruiters for these organizations seek individuals with outstanding technical and clinical abilities, they also look for those who can communicate with lay audiences, manage a budget, handle human resources issues and effectively fit into corporate culture.

Where can life scientists acquire these needed business skills? Starting now, at Johns Hopkins.

This month, the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education's Business of Health program launches its Leadership and Management in the Life Sciences graduate certificate program, a unique 12-credit, 40-week offering that will impart needed business skills to Johns Hopkins professionals — academics as well as those headed to the business world. Believed to be the only formal one of its kind in the country, it is patterned after the Hopkins Business of Medicine program, which provides clinical health professionals with skills needed to succeed in an evolving health care market.

Classes, which begin on Jan. 25, will initially be limited to Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellows and research faculty. There are currently 1,300 postdocs and 700 junior research faculty at the schools of Medicine and Public Health.

Douglas Hough, chair of the Business of Health program, said that he was approached in early 2004 by leadership at the School of Medicine to develop an educational program that would facilitate the transition of young scholars into full-time professional positions. Hough said that the leadership wanted something that could help prepare these young scientists for the business side of research, including managing both grants and people.

"They told us that postdocs needed training in business as only 20 percent will get academic jobs," he said. "The remaining 80 percent of them will be working in pharmaceutical companies, research labs, foundations and other nonacademic settings. Although they have superb science skills, they don't have the skills of how to work in a business environment."

The eight-course curriculum will include the Business Side of the Life Sciences, Managerial Accounting and Budgeting, Managerial Finance, Business Communications, Economics, Business Law Issues for the Life Sciences, Negotiation, and Strategies for Leading and Managing in the Life Sciences Organization.

"Students will learn, among other things, how to negotiate a deal and job offer, and also learn about the legal issues related to the commercialization of science from people who have been out in the real world and dealt with these matters," he said.

Classes will meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at the 1830 E. Monument St. Building on the East Baltimore campus. Full-time Johns Hopkins faculty and practitioner faculty who are leaders in the life sciences industry will teach the courses.

The program, Hough said, is an alternative to earning an M.B.A., which most researchers and postdoctoral fellows don't have time for.

"First off, these individuals are working extremely long hours, and secondly, they are likely not going to be around for four years to be able to enroll in a part-time M.B.A. program," he said. "Essentially, what we are giving them is more than a business boot camp but less than a traditional M.B.A. It's designed for people who already have too much to do."

The year's first class will be limited to 25 students and will be offered exclusively to Johns Hopkins personnel, many of whom are eligible for tuition remission. Hough anticipates that the program will expand in the future, with courses being offered at the Montgomery County and Homewood campuses and opened to non-JHU staff. Future cohorts will begin in the fall and end in June.

SPSBE is also exploring the feasibility of adding an M.B.A. in Life Sciences, Hough said, which will differ from a traditional M.B.A. in that every course will address science issues.

For more information on the Leadership and Management in the Life Sciences program, contact Page Barnes at 410-516-2325 or


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