The Need and Rising Opportunities for Talents in the Biotech Industry amid the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic and government policies have greatly accelerated the development of the biotechnology industry. There have been major breakthroughs in research and development, and technologies for vaccines, drugs, and tests around the world. However, in order to secure a prosperous industrial growth in the long run, its first and foremost priority is deriving a solution for resolving the bottleneck of talent shortage, that is, strengthening the cultivation and preparation of talents in translational medicine-related disciplines, and applying the scientific research results for the benefit of mankind.
The scientific research talent market
The difficulty in recruiting interdisciplinary talented scientific research and technological entrepreneurs
Professor Terence Tsz Wai Wong from the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering (CBE) at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) founded the company “PhoMedics” two years ago. In 2020, he and his team have successfully developed the cutting-edge imaging technology, the "Computational High-Throughput Autofluorescence Microscopy by Pattern Illumination" (CHAMP) technology, and received the Gold Award in HKUST-SINO One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition.
The favourable start-up atmosphere in Hong Kong boosts contestants’ business knowledge
Prof. Wong has shared that CHAMP technology can help doctors to remove cancer cells completely from patients at once, reducing the chance of needing a second operation. This will help save about 50,000 hours of operation time and HKD 400 million in medical costs for Hong Kong. This technology will undergo a clinical trial at the Queen Mary Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital this year, bringing local scientific research results to the fore for the benefit of cancer patients.
In the process of starting a business, Prof. Wong does not deny that recruiting suitable talents is a major difficulty and said, “Currently, there is a serious shortage of talents proficient in bioengineering and data analytics, so internal training is required."
Doctoral students first taste the achievements of entrepreneurship in the hope to benefit mankind
After graduating from HKUST’s “Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)” program, Miss Hei Man Wong (Ivy) has been appreciated and recommended by Prof. Wong for her outstanding ability and was admitted directly to the "Doctor of Philosophy (Bioengineering)" program. Ivy’s focus has been on the research development of CHAMP followed by establishing a start-up company with her mentor, Prof. Wong, amongst other researchers. She also serves as the “Lead Engineer” for transferring the CHAMP technology into products.
As Ivy mentioned, “Being able to participate in a start-up business was a rare experience. There were many challenges I needed to overcome along the way including product design and formulation of business strategies, and these have made me realise the importance of teamwork.” Upon graduation next year, Ivy has already determined to continue her engagement in scientific research to assist the company to productise scientific research results and benefit mankind as her career goal.
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