Life Sciences with Industry 2014

3 – 7 November 2014


The aim of the workshop was exposing young researchers in the life sciences in academia to application-oriented research challenges of Dutch industry. Vice versa the intention was to immerse investigators from industry into the world of publicly funded research. This aim connects to Dutch and European research policies that increasingly stress inking academic research to industrial R&D. To this end 5 groups of each 8 PhD students and postdocs worked for one week on a specific research challenge formulated by life sciences-related companies. The listing below shows the 5 participating companies (big industry and SMEs) and the broad range of research challenges the participants had to tackle.

·         ASI: A biological sample preparation technique that can be used in mass spectrometry, electron microscopy and spectral X-ray CT

·         Corbion: Antimicrobial packaging material made by a sustainable, bio‐based

·         Fei: Conductive resin development

·         Unilever: Life Sciences and the future of sensory testing

·         Nutricia Research: Oxidatively modified carbohydrates, lipids and proteins/peptides (OLPs) in milk products: a need for product/process optimization?

The format of the workshop followed that of the successful first Life Sciences with Industry workshop in the Lorentz Center in 2013. In short, after an introduction by the 5 industries the students work in groups of in this case 8 participant, in close contact with a researcher from the company that formulated the problem. Mid-term (Wednesday) and final (Friday) plenary presentations by the groups provoked lively and in-depth discussions among participants and representatives from industry. For all problems a range of partial and complete solutions were formulated, several leading to follow-up research according to the representatives of the companies. An excellent overview (in Dutch) of the challenges and the outcome of the workshop is found on the website of STW.

In the 2014 edition of the workshop the programme incorporated a short training on ’creative brainstorming’, which was well-appreciated by the participants. Based on the evaluation forms returned by the participants was a success: overall score 3.2 on a scale of 4. This encouraged us to apply for a workshop Life Sciences with Industry 2015.

This workshop was organised by Cyttron II, STW and the Dutch Systems Biology Platform SB@NL (now research school BioSB).