Over the past few years, biotechnology education programs at community colleges have developed several types of innovative contract service operations (CSOs) that serve their local business communities. The first examples of these contract service organizations were Contract Research Organizations (CROs), designed to prepare students for the workforce by providing them with internships. Since that time, community college programs have spawned a variety of business-like entities that now include manufacturing services, staffing, consulting, equipment rentals, and incubator space, in addition tocontract research.
In April 2012, Bio-Link hosted a summit with the goal of gathering and sharing information about the variety of contract service organizations developed by community colleges. Not only did the summit result in a publication describing many of these CSO's, the summit inspired a collaboration between a group of business students, the biotechnology program at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley (STLCC-FV), and their associated CRO, BioBench at BRDG Park.
During Fall 2012, business students in Jeffery Forrest's Introduction to Economics class worked with Elizabeth Boedeker, Senior Scientist and manager of the BioBench CRO, and Eileen Lyons, former Dean of the STEM Division at STLCC-FV, to quantify the economic impact of BioBench on the surrounding community.
This group was able to determine that:
The direct impact of STLCC's innovative endeavor of the Center for Plant and Life Sciences and the BioBench CRO has been $27.4 million for the St. Louis region.
Learn how the economic impact was measured and more about the project in:
Measuring the Impact of Community College Innovation (download below).
Links to the summit publication and presentations are given below.