The success of the Danish industrial Ph.D. convinced the European parliament to move forward with a Europe-wide program that is expected to incorporate its first batch of 100 scholars in September 2012. The program currently has more than 50 partnering enterprises. The European Commission plans to provide €20 million ($28 million) to fund the program under a special education and funding initiative titled the Marie Curie Action. The ultimate goal of the program is to make research careers more attractive for young people.
Synergy between academics and industry not only will prepare students for translational research but also will make academic research more strategic and technologically relevant. Bioscience laboratories and biotechnology companies with diverse connections have been more successful in publishing research, securing patents, and acquiring grants than those with fewer connections. Moreover, companies with more academic collaborations have flourished while those without have floundered. Overall, the industrial doctorate program is poised to benefit both the students and participating companies and universities.
Nancy Van Prooyen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco.