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Program Overview

Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology Certificate Program

Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology Certificate Program

Biotechnology is a fast-growing sector of the U.S. economy. As the industry expands, the need for well-trained, competent biotechnology leaders are in high demand. Leaders who will succeed in this new economy must have the skills to effectively navigate the increasingly complex and diverse biotech industry.

The global biotechnology industry is facing a critical skills gap:

Hubs of biotechnology excellence, (such as the Illinois Silicon Prairie, MATTER, and the Illinois Science + Technology Park) flourish when they combine the two factors necessary for growth: robust research, and the ability to convert that research into commercial activity. This program seeks to prepare students for that conversion with courses on the global industry, the commercialization process, leadership skills, and innovation strategies.

The Global Industry
Across the globe, the biotech industry generates close to $90 billion annually and employs more than 170,000 people. Currently the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia dominate the industry, however Brazil, Russia, India and China are predicted to change the face of the industry in the next decade.

Employees in this global industry can expect to face changes in their organizational culture as their work transitions from an R&D focus to commercialization. This transition requires new skill sets that traditional scientists may be unprepared for. Operating successfully within the high-risk, high-reward biotech environment requires strong technical and scientific skills as much as well-developed leadership qualities.
Employer-valued skills
This certificate is one of the only programs to combine training in both biotechnology commercialization and organizational development. This combination addresses the well-documented need from growing biotech companies, which often run lean, to ensure that their workforce is trained with the necessary combination of scientific and business skills for a successful career in the industry, whether in a big pharma or biotech startup setting.

About the Innovation in Biotechnology Certificate Program

Innovation in Biotechnology Program Goals

Upon completion of the Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology certificate program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the bio-technology commercialization process and be able to apply knowledge to predict the impact of various economic, clinical, legal and regulatory hurdles.
  • Examine the role of organizational dynamics, structure and culture on strategic alliance, partnerships and the technology development process.
  • Compare the varying definitions of innovation within the biotechnology industry, and assess where each should be applied and to what benefit.
  • Explain personal and organizational leadership lifecycles, as well as identify their personal leadership style.
  • Describe how to align technical progress with business strategy, and articulate the scientific and non-scientific drivers for success.

Innovation in Biotechnology Program Courses

Explore all the Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology Program Courses for detail on the program's offerings.

Audience for Innovation in Biotechnology Program

The Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology certificate program is for early to mid-career professionals working in industry who plan to move into leadership roles within the R&D organization and would like to gain a holistic view of the biotechnology industry and the drivers for success.

  • Scientists, technicians and engineers will develop skills to move toward leadership roles
  • Sales and marketing staff will acquire a broader knowledge of the business and how the technology commercialization process works
  • Human Resources professionals will be better able to identify, hire and cultivate talent.
  • Start-up entrepreneurs and/or investors will learn tools to build their own companies from start-up to scale, or will learn what signs point to good investments
  • Advanced graduate students and post-docs will get a leg up to get into industry and build their network with the help of our industry-based adjunct faculty

Though a participant may still be in a technical role, the program’s courses will build on his or her natural interest in leading an organization. Courses will combine case study analysis, group projects, guest lectures and interviews with industry experts to demonstrate the necessary talent and technological skills required to support commercial success. With an understanding of academic and commercial-based mindsets, students will be well poised to assume leadership roles within biotechnology organizations.

Choose the path to differentiate yourself as a biotech leader with a certificate from Northwestern University.

Innovation in Biotechnology Certificate Requirements

Students must complete all four core courses to earn a Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology certificate from Northwestern University.

Program Structure

Each course will meet for a three-day executive education style in-person experience, combining group discussions, lectures, and case studies. These in-person meetings will be richly supplemented by videos, discussions, readings and interaction online.

Recommeded Path

To get the most out of the Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology program, students are encouraged to take the courses listed in the order below, but they may also take only specific courses that pique their interest.

Tuition and Financial Aid for the Innovation in Biotechnology Certificate Program

Tuition for each course is $1,095.Complete details can be found on the Tuition and Financial Aid for the Innovation in Biotechnology Certificate Program page.

Careers in Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology

Read more on the Careers in Fostering Innovation in Biotechnology page.

Find out more about Northwestern's Innovation in Biotechnology Certificate

Contact Professional Development Team

The Professional Developement Team at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies can be a resource to you for inquiries regarding our certificate programs.

Biotechnology Certificate Program Core Courses

Core Courses:Course Detail
The Global Biotech Enterprise <> BIO_TECH 400-0

The global biotechnology industry generates nearly $90 billion annually and employs more than 170,000 people. Currently, the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia dominate the industry however Brazil, Russia, India and China are predicted to change the face of the industry in the next decade. How does a company ensure success in this changing global environment? In this course students will gain an appreciation for the complexities of the international biotechnology marketplace by looking at three major industry verticals; biopharmaceutical, agri-biotech and industrial biotechnology. Students will gain a historical perspective of the industry, and evaluate the modern social, political, scientific, legal and economic drivers for success in each vertical, both domestically and abroad. Finally, students will identify areas of ambiguity within the enterprise, predict trends and model outcomes.


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Biotech Commercialization <> BIO_TECH 401-1

How does a drug reach the market? How do companies decide where to invest their R&D dollars? This course will examine the evolution of a biotechnology product from concept to market and track its progression. The course focus will be on those factors which impact a specific product commercialization strategy; such as intellectual property, regulatory hurdles or financial considerations. Through interactive case study analysis and first person interviews, students will cover aspects of market research, regulatory affairs, intellectual property law and finance. The course will culminate in the team based development of a business case for a commercialization strategy of a biotechnology product.


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Leadership <> BIO_TECH 402-1

How do you lead through ambiguity? What are traits are needed to lead an innovative company? Are there distinct traits needed to be successful in the biotech industry as well? This course will explore fundamentals of personal and organizational leadership while highlighting and applying these theories to the changing landscape of co-development and innovation in the biotechnology industries. Course will cover aspects of the leadership lifecycle for a company, department or unit; and explore characteristics needed for success within both commercial and R&D functions.


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Innovation Strategies BIO_TECH 403-1

Innovation can be defined in a variety of terms. Is innovation creating something new, or creatively fixing a problem? Does innovation only deal with the development of technologies, or can it be applied to human factors as well? In this course we will cover various innovation theories and see how they can be applied to the biotechnology enterprise. Furthermore, students will address the technology and talent requirements to create an ecosystem of sustainable innovation and successful commercialization in the biotechnology enterprise.


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