27. juni 2018

Synapse Connect UK 2018 creates international network relations and opportunities for Danish Life Science students

The thrive of future professionals originates from connecting with industry at its heart. This is why 30 life science students from Denmark joined the non-profit student organisation Synapse for a week-long seminar in Europe’s greatest biotech cluster, Cambridge and London, to connect with representatives from companies, organizations, and universities.

By Andreas Obers

Starting off in Cambridge, students had the chance to visit Granta Park, which is home to leading life science companies, including MedImmune, Lonza, and OneNucleus. Their executives and department leaders were enthusiastic about sharing the vast opportunities available as well as diverse qualities needed from science graduates to succeed in the industry. Besides this great science park, participants also visited the Babraham Research Campus, where CEOs from F-star, Mission Therapeutics and Phoremost, alongside Allan Bradley, CSO from Kymab were pleased to share their career as a personal example – this was highly appreciated as their diverse personality types enabled us to see the journey of becoming a leader from several different angles.

The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) was also part of this year’s programme. Several companies presented their missions to support better data handling in life sciences, accompanied by a PhD student, who explained that it is not required to be a hardcore bioinformatician to succeed in their EMBL-EBI’s PhD programme. The visit ended with an extensive tour around the modern and huge campus before heading off to London for another exciting two-and-a-half days.

The ties between participants and British students were strengthened on the first day in London by holding a joint event with Science Innovation Union, a British student organization that – similar to Synapse – aims at closing the gap between academia and the life science industry. Four experts were discussing advances in immunotherapy and all the opportunities that CAR-T cell therapy holds for the future treatment of cancer.

On Thursday, students were visiting Imperial College of London to learn more about the student-driven society SynBIC, which is dedicated to promoting the use of synthetic biology in industry, but also about several biotech start-ups, ventures and accelerators including RebelBio, ThinAirWater, CustoMem, and DesktopGenetics.

The afternoon was spent at GSK to hear more about innovative drug development before ending the day with an exclusive event at TOPRA, where several regulatory associates convinced some of our students that regulatory affairs can be an interesting option as a science graduate.

The final and most exciting day of all was spent at Wellcome Trust hosting our unique case competition. Following an introduction to Wellcome Trust and their graduate programme, our six case competition teams presented their creative solutions to a panel of judges from Wellcome Trust. For one month ahead of the trip, the teams had been working on creative solutions to rare diseases, lifestyle diseases, mental health, oncology, neglected tropical diseases, or infectious diseases. This case competition was an immense learning experience and a lot of fun for everyone involved.

Case Competition Winning Team at Wellcome Trust: Nicklas Ladegaard Andersen, Güldas Köse, Matias Ankjær, Søren Helweg Dam, and Sofie Falkenløve Madsen.

All combined, this week-long seminar is one of the best ways to bridge the gap between students and the greatest life science cluster in Europe, expand their networks, and be inspired on various levels.

Synapse Connect UK 2018 received funding from University of Copenhagen’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship student fund