Boffins mean business science

A CD-Rom from the Institute of Physics will help to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the corporate boardroom

One of the common complaints about British business is that not enough of a role is given to scientists. At the same time, it is widely acknowledged that scientists often lack the commercial awareness necessary to succeed in industry.

Help is now at hand, in the form of a CD-Rom launched by the Institute of Physics. The multimedia training program "Scientists in Business" enables young scientists and engineers considering or actually embarking on a career in industry to find out from more than 50 scientists who have done it exactly what the career opportunities are in industry and what skills are required.

The package, which features more than seven hours of material taken from extensive interviews with people as varied as heads of leading corporations and recently recruited technicians, is aimed at both undergraduates and post-graduates as well as people in their first years of working in technology- based businesses. The Institute of Physics reckons it will also be of value to teachers and advisers in higher education who wish to understand what working in industry is really like.

The program was produced with the aid and sponsorship of 27 international high-technology companies employing thousands of top-quality scientists and engineers, and enables users to hear how companies use science, how they are organised and managed as well as find out more information about certain organisations and such issues as strategies for personal development and Japanese influences on modern business methods.

When it was launched late last year, Ian Taylor, Minister for Science and Technology, said he had been impressed not just by the "Scientists in Business" package, but also by the way in which the Institute of Physics had worked with industry to make "a valuable contribution to the business awareness and quality of industry's future workforce".

He added: "This package gives key insights into what our next generation of scientists and engineers will find in industry and how they can best prepare themselves for the exciting challenges ahead."

In order to make the package as widely available as possible, the institute sent 1,500 free copies to named individuals in universities and companies around Britain. Extra copies are available at pounds 25 each - with discounts for full-time students and members of the institute - from the institute's industrial affairs department at 76 Portland Place, London W1N 4AA. Tel 0171-470 4800n

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