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April 16, 2019

New degree fills a gap in biotechnology labor force

The Professional Science Master’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology prepares students for the most in-demand, highly skilled jobs

Author: Holly Ober
April 16, 2019

Southern California’s biotechnology labor force is about to get a boost from a new program at UC Riverside. The Professional Science Master’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology will train scientists and technicians to fill highly skilled positions in the booming fields of healthcare, biofuels, agriculture, and industrial chemistry. The program will be housed in UC Riverside’s new Center for Industrial Biotechnology and administered by the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

Engineering undergraduates who seek employment in the biotechnology industry see two tracks available to them: Operators, who run and maintain production plants, and process scientists, who design the production processes and specify experiments.

Most new graduates seek and prefer positions in process sciences but lack the required skills and must accept roles as pilot plant operators. The Professional Science Master’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology, or PSM, addresses this limitation with a rigorous curriculum that combines coursework on process sciences, bioprocess development, plant design, safety and control, with internships in biotech companies.

The Center for Industrial Biotechnology harnesses UC Riverside’s existing research strengths in the production of biofuels, industrial chemicals and healthcare products and in agriculture to train students in the manipulation, control and optimization of biological systems. The students’ training will apply to a variety of fields, including genetics, fermentation, bioseparations, biocatalysis, plant science and data analysis and positions students for careers at the forefront of industrial biotechnology.

The Center will host an open house on April 25 in Winston Chung Hall room 205/206 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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