Written by: Martina Stella
All the summer schools you might attend or hear about have something in common: the word “summer.” This may make you think of bright days and warmth on your skin. These two features were certainly true for BioBusiness Summer School 2021, but not how you might expect.
I attended the 13th session of the BioBusiness Summer School this past summer, held partially online and partially in-person, at Amsterdam Science Park. The school is designed for academics seeking to switch into the life-science industry but also to young professionals and all who are contemplating a future as entrepreneurs in this blooming field of start-ups.
The school is a five-day course on business topics relevant to the life-science domain, centered on the transition from academia to industry. For example: have you ever asked yourself whether publishing in a scientific journal a new discovery is always the best decision? Intellectual property lecture might provide some wise considerations about. And if you already have a great idea, do you know which steps you need to turn it into a start-up? Then the venture capital domain worth a closer look at. Simply put, BioBusiness Summer School is a boost in energy and a smart investment for the future.
Over the first two days, experts in the field taught the basics of major business subjects, such as finances, intellectual property, and business models. Despite the first two days being online this past year, students could actively interact with the speakers, and some sessions were dedicated to meeting our peers comfortably from home with a cup of coffee.
This was also a smooth resumption of social interaction, which was fully exploited during the remaining three days on-site. These were focused on gaining insights into the world of life-science companies, and I was amazed by the possible career paths one can take, most of which I had not even considered. Have you ever considered to become a partner in an investment firm specialized in medical ventures? And what about using your experience as scientist to turn yourself into a communication expert? But what really benefitted me was something difficult to learn except through experience: networking.
The school allows you to meet leaders who understand the importance of bridging the gap between scientific and economic backgrounds. Prof. Claassen is a perfect example of this. He is a certified immunologist, working 30% in academia, and an awarded entrepreneur. These two complementary pillars are also combined in the course he teaches, “Business management and Entrepreneurship in Health & Life Sciences”, at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Tim Knotnerus combined his education in drug innovation with an executive MBA, and he is now CEO of a therapeutic company. And it is from these entrepreneurs’ own voices that you can hear their paths to success, which often isn’t straight or easy.
To me, the most impressive part was that these same people with astonishing careers to which we all aspired were there to help us. One second, they stood in front of us, talking to us, and the next second, they were mixing with the audience, chatting with us and sharing feedback and advice.
So maybe another reason it’s called the BioBusiness “Summer School” is because there you can feel the warmth of being surrounded by people like you, struggling with similar uncertainties while working to constantly improve themselves, driven by curiosity and determination. And days at the summer school are bright because you can meet people with the brightest minds, sharing with you their inspiring ideas and challenging experiences to enlighten your future.
For more info, and for the speakers’ bio to get inspired by, you can visit the BioBusiness Summer School website. And if you are impatience to get a glimpse of it, check out the three-days winter edition BioBusiness Winter School.