We earlier posted about ‘BGI Model’ here and here, and received insightful comments from Ruibang, Kevin Chen and other readers. Nature blog posted a good interview with BGI’s executive director Dr. Wang further elaborating on BGI’s ‘youth movement’. BGI currently has over 4,000 employees split between BGI Research (academic non-profit research), BGI Tech (genomics and omics services), BGI Healthcare and BGI Agriculture (develops new breeds). They also started a new environmental division for treating waste water. Here is more on how the organization plans to cultivate young talent (emphasis ours) -
But a pipeline of technologies would not be complete without a pipeline of talent, said Dr. Wang.
We have spin-off companies, and we also have a college. Right now we have a joint PHD program with University of Copenhagen and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he said.
And BGI has certainly capitalized on this youthful trend, hiring students fresh out of college. Dr. Wang told me that the average age for a scientist at BGI is only 23, and in general the average age across the entire company is just 26.
Well this is a new territory, Dr. Wang said. There is no existing talent; they all have to be trained. And the best way to train them is to recruit them from the top universities and to throw them into real projects. The ones who have more experience, you need more creative thinking from them, instead of just training them what to do.
Overall, we fail to see what is wrong with that approach. However, most US colleagues we spoke to remain skeptical about anything from China because of their socialist policies, lack of personal freedom and constitutional rights unlike what we enjoy here in USA.