In this section:
What it means for the biosciences
The importance of entrepreneurship within Bioscience subjects
Entrepreneurship can be defined as: "an activity which leads to the creation and management of a new organisation designed to pursue a unique innovative opportunity" (Hindle and Rushworth, 2000). However, this overlooks the fact that entrepreneurs can be agents of change within existing organisations. This is often termed intrapreneurship. This is important as 96% of bioscience graduates do not run their own businesses following graduation, but may still utilise a range of entrepreneurial skills in an established bioscience organisation.
As well as making the usual business decisions, entrepreneurship is often associated with the functions of innovating and bearing risks. Here we consider entrepreneurial skills as those which go beyond normal employability skills to include:
The UK Centre for Bioscience's work on entrepreneurship forms part of the Higher Education Academy Entrepreneurship project. On the Academy's web pages you will find both generic and subject-specific information and resources.
Why is entrepreneurship important?
The UK Government is keen for universities to produce graduates that have a range of entrepreneurial skills which can be used as a basis for establishing their own enterprises or to be innovative and be "agents of change" within existing businesses. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurial graduates to generate change in the businesses in which they work to improve efficiency and competitiveness. For instance the installation of energy saving lights to the use of new laboratory protocols.
A further aim of the Government is to strengthen the relationship between universities and businesses for several reasons:
This has led HEFCE to provide an innovation and enterprise culture strand of funding to universities (for instance the Higher Education Innovation Fund) and to encourage the embedding of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching within a range of existing higher education curricula.
This raises the issue of how to embed such issues, both in terms of the inclusion in the curricula and the provision of the resource (i.e. who is going to do it?). Many academics feel that they do not have the skills to teach in this area and others see it as yet another inappropriate initiative for their subject area. Nonetheless this is a key Government initiative which potentially offers both financial and intellectual opportunities.
These web pages help staff address the entrepreneurship issue in a Bioscience context through the following questions:
Entrepreneurship resources (for example Case Studies, possible sources of funding and Enterprise Centres)
The Centre for Bioscience has recently funded two Entrepreneurship mini-projects.
Hindle, K. and Rushworth, S. (2000) Yellow Pages® Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: GEM Australia 2000. Melbourne: Swinburne University Press