Workshop Life Sciences with Industry 2015

16 – 20 November 2015


The aim of the Life Sciences with Industry workshops is exposing young researchers in the life sciences to real-life research challenges in industry. Vice versa they immerse investigators from industry into the world of academic research. This aim connects to Dutch and European research policies that stress linking academic research to industrial R&D. The 2015 workshop was attended by  30 PhD students and postdocs.

During the workshop 6 groups, each of 4 to 6 participants, focussed for 5 days on the following 6 scientific challenges that have been formulated by 6 Dutch companies (3 big industries and 3 SMEs) and are listed below.

·         New possibilities for developing disease-resistant plants (Bejo Zaden)

·         Technologies to modulate galactosylation and fucosylation in human antibodies production in clonal cell lines (Bioceros)

·         Isolation of phospholipids from fresh cow milk (Nutricia Danone)

·         Applications of a novel low-cost/disposable high resolution and sensitive detector in health and biotechnology (NXP Semiconductors)

·         Quantifying the quality of light for human-centric lighting solutions: how to objectively measure (visual) comfort and well-being (Philips)

·          Automated 3D imaging and analysis systems to measure plant volume and other critical

parameters of seed germination and seedling establishment (Syngenta)

The format of the workshop followed that of the successful Life Sciences with Industry workshops in the Lorentz Center in 2013 and 2014. In short, after an introduction by the 6 industries the participants worked in groups and were in close contact with a representative from the company that had formulated the challenge. Mid-term (Wednesday) and final (Friday) plenary presentations by the groups provoked the necessary discussions among participants and representatives from industry, further sharpening ideas and results. Most of the time was spend by the groups on the analysis of the problems they addressed and on developing and formulating potential solutions. Some of the proposals will be follow-up R&D activities of the companies.

Based on the criterion ‘overall rating workshop’ the judgement of the participants scored an average of 3.5 on a scale of 4 (2014: score 3.2). This result encouraged us to apply for a fourth workshop Life Sciences with Industry in 2016.