Views from academia and industry on skills needed for the modern research environment

Cigdem P. Talgar, Nina M. Goodey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Reports from employers of higher education graduates indicate the existence of a considerable gap between the skills required by employers and those possessed by recent graduates. As a first step toward closing this gap, this study aims to determine its origin. Interviews with nine research-active biochemistry professionals were used to identify the most important skills for biochemistry students to succeed in research positions postgraduation. The results of these interviews were used to develop a survey, which was then administered to a larger group of biochemistry faculty and industry professionals. The output of the survey was a list of 52 skills valued by biochemistry professionals and rated by perceived importance. Importantly, the survey results also afford a comparative look at the prioritization of skills by two key populations: the academic faculty training students and the industry professionals hiring them. While there are many areas of agreement between these two populations, the survey also reveals areas were priorities diverge. The discrepancies found here suggest that the skills gap manifest at the point of employment may stem directly from differences in prioritization between the academic and industrial environments. This article aims to provide insight into the needs and requirements of the modern biochemical research environment, and invites debate concerning the preparation students receive in academia. Moreover, the results presented herein point to a need for further exploration of the possible misalignment of these two critical environments for young scientists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-332
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • Biochemistry laboratory education
  • Biochemistry research skills
  • Career preparation
  • Industry experience
  • Laboratory curriculum
  • Skill development


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