The overriding theme this year was cooperation – between both universities as well as national and international research projects. As always, the meeting attracted high-calibre participants. “For us, this is about giving students the opportunity to meet industry decision makers. At the International Life Science Meeting, students make contacts that will prove valuable for their careers,” commented Prof. Harald Hundsberger. The head of the Institute of Biotechnology and his team have built up a comprehensive network of contacts, many of whom regularly travel to the Krems get-together. Top scientists from over 15 universities, representatives of Austria’s leading pharmaceuticals companies and global players such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Shire and Lonza AG were all in attendance.
MSD creates up to 400 jobs in Krems
At the event Martin Kern, the Director of Krems-based MSD Animal Health Danube Biotech GmbH presented his company’s plans to employ up to 400 people in the production of animal vaccines at its facility on the site of Baxter’s former production plant by 2020. Important news for students who are looking to embark on a career in the region when they graduate.
New chemistry degree programme at IMC Krems
Autumn will see the launch of IMC Krems’ new Applied Chemistry bachelor degree programme – the first chemistry degree offered at a university of applied sciences in Austria. International Life Science Meeting participants were given an insight into the new course, as well as other new educational projects such as IMC Krems’ exchange programmes with Linköping University in Sweden and Dublin Institute of Technology. The schemes enable biotech students to complete an additional semester abroad, on top of the usual internship. “The bachelor courses at these three institutions are very similar. This is a great exchange programme,” explained Prof. Hundsberger. The head of institute is also very proud of a research project implemented in partnership with Johannes Kepler University Linz, which aims to develop new methods for antibiotics production.
“It’s about passion” – first-hand career tips
A highlight of the International Life Science Meeting was a discussion on career planning in life sciences. It addressed questions such as the importance of doing a PhD and what HR managers are looking for in applicants. Students benefitted from the practical advice, and the panel agreed that it really all comes down to passion and personality. Companies are looking to recruit people who have a burning enthusiasm for what they do. The ability to use your own initiative and the right attitude are also key factors, along with the capacity to quickly recover from setbacks.
Premiere: PTS Award presentation a fitting climax
Three students – Susanne Waizenauer, Petra Grünstäudl and Bronislava Bobušová – gave presentations on the work they had completed during their practical training semesters. For the first time, the best presentation received the PTS Award as part of the International Life Science Meeting, with the accolade going to Susanne Waizenauer for her talk on Optimising CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing by using a conversion of GFP to BFP in human pluripotent stem cell line.