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Validating curricular competencies in innovation and entrepreneurship for biomedical research trainees: A modified Delphi approach

  • Jane Garbutt (a1) (a2), Alison Antes (a1), Jessica Mozersky (a1), James Pearson (a1), Joseph Grailer (a1), Emre Toker (a1) and James DuBois (a1)...



Biomedical researchers need skills in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) to efficiently translate scientific discoveries into products and services to be used to improve health.


In 2016, the European Union identified and published 15 entrepreneurial competencies (EntreComp) for the general population. To validate the appropriateness of these competencies for I&E training for biomedical researchers and to identify program content, we conducted six modified Delphi panels of 45 experts (6–9 per panel). Participating experts had diverse experience, representing such fields as entrepreneurship, academic research, venture capital, and industry.


The experts agreed that all 15 EntreComp competencies were important for biomedical research trainees and no additional competencies were identified. In a two-round Delphi process, the experts identified 120 topics to be included in a training curriculum. They rated the importance of each topic using a 5-point scale from not at all important (1) to extremely important (5) for two student groups: entrepreneurs (those interested in starting their own ventures) and intrapreneurs (those wanting to be innovative and strategic within academia or industry). Consensus (mean importance score >4) was reached that 85 (71%) topics were of high importance for the curriculum. Four topics were identified by multiple panels for both student groups: resiliency, goal setting, team management, and communication skills.


I&E training for biomedical trainees should address all 15 EntreComp competencies, including “soft skills,” and be flexible to accommodate the needs of trainees on different career trajectories.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: J. Garbutt, MB, ChB, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8116, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110, USA. Email:


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