Fiu To Offer Phd Program In Biomedical Engineering
By Leslie Kraft
Florida International University next fall will offer a doctorate of philosophy degree in biomedical engineering.
The program was approved earlier this week by the board of governors for the state university system. FIU will be the fourth school in Florida to offer the degree, joining the University of Florida, Florida State University, Florida A&M University and the University of Miami, which have similar programs.
FIU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering last year became the first in the state university system to offer a bachelor’s of science degree in biomedical engineering. The department integrates academia, clinical medicine and the biomedical industry to educate the next generation of biomedical engineers and conducts research that will lead to innovations in medical technology, FIU officials said.
"The PhD approval rounds out and completes our programs and will help move our research forward to make us a more attractive university for students looking to major in biomedical engineering and for industry and clinical organizations to initiate more collaborative research and development activities," said Richard T. Schoephoerster, chairman of FIU’s department of biomedical engineering.
The announcement of the new program comes as the Scripps Research Institute plans to enter Florida with new facilities in Palm Beach County. The La Jolla, CA-based group is one of the nation’s best-known biomedical research organizations. The Florida Legislature last week gave final approval to Gov. Jeb Bush’s $310 million quest to lure the prestigious institute to South Florida.
Recognized for its achievements in cancer research and for research into Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease, Scripps has a staff of 3,000 and an annual budget of $280 million.
Gov. Bush has said the institute’s decision to come to Florida puts the state in the spotlight of the nation’s burgeoning biomedical industry. The governor’s office estimates that Scripps Florida will create 6,500 jobs during the next 15 years, including professional positions for university graduates.
Scripps’ business spinoffs are expected to work with universities to foster research-grant activities and attract venture capital.
Florida’s universities have been increasing biomedical research in the past decade. The specialty is considered central to the missions of both UF’s and the University of Central Florida’s new state-supported Centers of Excellence.