BV Survey: Biotech still attractive but bereft of good career options, feel Indian students

The recent first of its kind biotech student perception conducted by BioVoice has revealed that while majority of students are still fascinated by the subject, they are equally disappointed with the lack of enough opportunities or good career profiles


New Delhi: The insights from the BioVoice Biotech Student Perception Survey reveal that 67.8 percent of students chose the biotechnology as a career due to their fondness of the subject whereas 13.2 percent thought they would become entrepreneurs, and 9.9 percent were hopeful of a good salary and life. The rest of 12.1 percent were not much sure about it. On the question of reasons behind their decision to choose biotech as a career route, 80.2 percent students said it was their own decision, 11 percent were motivated by friends and 8.8 percent by teachers. Interestingly none were under parental pressure.

To the question on whether the students still wanted to pursue higher degrees in biotechnology, the 70.3 percent replied in affirmative as they feel that the future could be good. 14.3 percent said they are confused and 9.9 percent said they have no idea. Rest of 5.5 percent clearly regret taking the subject.

Biotech education system holds us back, say students

On being asked if they are satisfied with the biotechnology education system in India, 37.4 percent replied in negative while 31.9 percent are positive about it. 24. 2 percent consider it as bad and 6.5 percent thought it is worse.

To the question on whether a drastic change is required in the biotech curriculum, 57.1 percent think that few improvements are required whereas 34.1 percent are of the view that drastic change is needed. 8.8 percent don’t feel any change is required at all.

The next question that was asked to the students was whether they were aware about the Biotech Consortia India Limited and the fresh consultations by it over new syllabus. The 59.3 percent of the students said they haven’t heard about it at all. 36.3 percent were aware but didn’t participate in the exercise. The 63.7 percent feel that the biotechnology be introduced as separate subject at school level. 22 percent say that would be too early and 11 percent don’t feel there is any need to do so.

Among the other basic questions was whether the practical laboratory was well equipped to provide the students with hands on training? The 41.8 percent said they had all the necessary equipment in the lab. 34.1 percent pointed to presence of only few instruments whereas 20.9 percent said it was just the basic infrastructure.

                   The perception matters!
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Target Segment: Indian biotech students

Survey Sample Size: 1057 respondents 

Gender: 628 Males and 429 Females

Location: Global  

                                                     Number of Questions: 19  

                                                   Average time taken: 10 minutes                                                       

Brain drain or brain gain?

The 44 percent of students said that they took up or are interested in taking post doctoral studies abroad to gain international exposure. 33 percent prefer to stay back in India irrespective of any benefit abroad. 15.4 percent said they were or are interested only in making monetary gains aboard.

Career options: A tough cookie to crack!

On the question of enough availability of career options for an average biotech student in India, 67 percent feel that there are not many, 14.3 percent feel that various barriers act as hindrance, 13.2 percent feel there are plenty of them. The 45 percent hadn’t attended any campus recruitment by companies, 38.5 percent said they never got a chance at all. 11 percent chose only once as the option.

When asked about the biotech industry in India, 49.5 percent said they were aware while rest of 45.1 percent were aware to the some extent. Among the various names, Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw emerged as the favourite icon with 65.9 percent students voting for her. The students were very clear when asked which company they would prefer among few top choices. Whopping 67 percent were clear about the Biocon being their first choice followed by 8.8 percent for Syngenta. Rest of them were fragmented into Bharat Biotech, Quintiles, Serum Institute etc. The clear tilt towards industry among the young blood was visible as less than 3 percent opted for PhD. Might be because a choice was offered in the first place.

Entrepreneurship gets a big thumbs up

The 47.3 percent of the survey participants said they want to be entrepreneurs. The 38.5 percent said that they would certainly prefer entrepreneurship if they get the right environment and chance. 8.8 percent were undecided. On being asked about the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and its University Cluster Programme, 50.5 percent replied in negative. 34. 1 percent had only heard about BIRAC and 12.1 percent had heard about the University Cluster but not the BIRAC in detail

On the question of Make in India, the students are with the government. Whopping 41.8 percent feel that the make in India will cater to indigenous needs. 48.4 percent feel that both imported as well as make in India products are needed.

One thing is very clear from the survey. The students seek encouragement and clear roadmap for a better education system where the thrust is more on communication and industry oriented programmes. Let us take you through the outcome.

 The Biotech Student Perception Survey 2017 

1. Why did you choose biotechnology as a career?

Student Survey Chart 12. Who was behind your decision to choose it?

Student Survey Chart 2

3. Do you still want to pursue higher degrees in biotechnology?

 Student Survey Chart 3

 4. Are you satisfied with the biotechnology education system in India?

 Student Survey Chart 4

 5. Is there a need for drastic change in the biotech curriculum?

 Student Survey Chart 56. Are you aware about BCIL and the fresh consultations by it over new syllabus?

 Student Survey Chart 67. Are there enough career options available for an average biotech student in India?

 Student Survey Chart 7

 8. Which is the top biotech company you aspire to work for?

 Student Survey Chart 8

9. Should the biotechnology be introduced as a separate subject at the school level?

 Student Survey Chart 9

10. Are you looking at going abroad for post-doctoral research as the most easy option to:

 Student Survey Chart 10

 11. Is your practical lab well equipped to provide hands on training?

 Student Survey Chart 1112. Have you attended any campus recruitment by biotech companies?

 Student Survey Chart 1213. Are you aware about the biotech industry in India?

 Student Survey Chart 13

14. Who is the most inspiring biotech personality for you?

 Student Survey Chart 1415. Have you heard about BIRAC and its University Biotech Cluster program?

 Student Survey Chart 1516. What is better: Make in India or Imported biotech products?

Student Survey Chart 16

17. Do you want to be an entrepreneur?

Student Survey Chart 1718. How do you define innovation?

Student Survey Chart 1819. Finally, what does word ‘Modern Biotechnology’ mean to you?


Student Survey Chart 19


Note: The Biovoice News would like to thank those Indian biotechnology students who spared few moments to give us their valuable feedback in this survey. Also, appreciate your support in the form of emails received by the Editor.