About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 783-789
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain

BIO-MINDS: A NOVEL INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN BIOTECHNOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO

L. Saliceti-Piazza, R. Buxeda

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (PUERTO RICO)
Biotechnology has been given a top priority level for the economic development of Puerto Rico as part of the government strategy to establish a knowledge-based economy. This economic model requires a strong interaction among the three important constituents: government, industry, and academia. The government of Puerto Rico has provided the necessary tools to promote biotechnology as a key development area by giving priority to biotechnology companies to establish their operations in the island through the offering of special tax incentives and by approving legislation that provides fiscal incentives to research and development initiatives. The University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM), representing the academia, has contributed in developing and implementing educational and research initiatives in biotechnology for the past seven years. The biotechnology initiatives of UPRM have received strong support from the industrial sector, as well.

The selection of biotechnology as one of the main targets in a country’s economic development efforts brings the necessity of educating and preparing the next generation of professionals with the profile and skills required in the field of biotechnology. The level of science and engineering education to support a knowledge-based economic model must include a strong research component. Professionals with advanced graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) are of utmost importance to maintain and sustain a high-tech, knowledge-based economic activity, such as that generated in a biotechnology-based environment. The interdisciplinary nature of biotechnology increases the need to nurture research personnel from diverse fields such as biology, industrial microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry, and various engineering disciplines.

With this in mind, the UPRM designed and is implementing the Biotechnology Mentorship Initiative to Develop Science Program (Bio-MINDS), an example of university-industry collaboration. All of the funding to sustain Bio-MINDS was provided by a world-known biotechnology company foundation. A total of 200 students will be impacted in a four-year period. Science and engineering students enrolled in five UPR campuses will be eligible to participate from their junior to senior years of undergraduate studies. Two cohorts of 100 students each will participate in a maximum period of two years.

The main objective of the Bio-MINDS Program is to incorporate research experiences within the undergraduate science and engineering curricular activities in order to strengthen our student’s exposure to cutting edge technology and a science-based approach to solve problems in the biosciences. As a result, critical thinking, ethical behavior, communication skills, and teamwork will be embedded into their research experiences. This will result in a professional more competitive to continue graduate school or to become part of a highly educated workforce needed to support a knowledge-based economy.

This paper will describe how the Bio-MINDS Program was conceived, designed, and is being implemented to promote undergraduate research in biotechnology and related areas to contribute to the knowledge-based economy efforts.
@InProceedings{SALICETIPIAZZA2009BIO,
author = {Saliceti-Piazza, L. and Buxeda, R.},
title = {BIO-MINDS: A NOVEL INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN BIOTECHNOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {783-789}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Saliceti-Piazza AU - R. Buxeda
TI - BIO-MINDS: A NOVEL INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN BIOTECHNOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 783
EP - 789
ER -
L. Saliceti-Piazza, R. Buxeda (2009) BIO-MINDS: A NOVEL INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN BIOTECHNOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 783-789.
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