Training the next generation of plant science leaders and entrepreneurs

To meet the challenges facing agriculture, leaders are needed with a range of scientific and business skills.

In addition to an interest in basic research, many plant scientists today are motivated to find applications of their research to real world problems in business settings. Scientists are highly educated, creative problem solvers who have focused on rigorous training in experimental methods in an academic environment. Yet typical development paths don’t include education in the skills used in an entrepreneurial or corporate environment.

The 2Blades Masterclass is designed to bridge this gap by teaching basic management and business skills to scientists during their postdoctoral training.

Launched in 2015 in the Sainsbury Laboratory, this pilot program has been offered to a small group of postdoctoral scientists to learn through application-focused projects and consists of two stages:

Stage 1: A customized introductory management training program with broad applicability for a technical business environment.

The program emphasizes project management, communication, and leadership skills, as well as the basics of creating start-up companies, including finance, human relations, and intellectual property basics.

Stage 2: High-level seminars by industry leaders and successful biotech entrepreneurs.

These seminars will allow the students to see how business principles have been put into practice and to make valuable contacts in their field.

This balanced approach is designed to provide young scientists with an interest in science applications with the foundation needed to deliver innovations in agriculture.

P1090847 Masterclass in session. From left to right, Dr. Freddy Boutrot, Dr. Marina Pais, Steph Allen from ILM, Dr. Angela Chaparro-Garcia, Dr. Nadine.Ilk and Dr. Gildas Bourdais.