Biocat Conferences: the professional perspectives of the sector, in debate

With the aim of analysing the sector and the challenges of bringing reality to professionals working in biosciences, Biocat organised two technical seminars throughout 2013.

The Professional perspectives on the bio sector conference, organised with the support of Barcelona Activa, was aimed at professionals with higher education working or in the process of looking for work, anxious to know how this sector would evolve and what opportunities it offered.

Held on 30th April, 2013, taking part were Susana Tintoré, Executive Director of Business Services and Employment at Barcelona Activa, who was responsible for opening the meeting, and Carlos Lurigados, Head of Entrepreneurship and Business Growth at Biocat, who spoke about the current situation of the sector in Catalonia and the initiatives that were being carried out to promote and develop talent and bio-entrepreneurship. Carlos Lurigados is part of the organising committee of the business creation programme BioEmprenedorXXI.

The conference was also attended by Michael Thiele, a partner in LIM Global and a specialist headhunter in the bio-pharmaceutical environment; Albert Zamora, General Director of Bionure, and Francis Cartanya, Director of the Department of Development, Selection and Training in the Human Resources of Grifols; they provided the entrepreneurial vision and spoke about what they demand from the professionals in their companies (training, skills, abilities, languages, etc.), what deficiencies they detect when hiring qualified staff, the recruitment channels they commonly use and the career opportunities with most future potential, among other topics.

As well as this, on 23rd May, Biocat, the Faculty of Biosciences of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Catalan Association of Biotechnologists organised the conference 'A world beyond the Academy: professional perspectives in the biomedical sector'.

The conference was attended by more than 80 biosciences and postdoctoral students interested in learning about the career prospects offered by the biotec sector. Dr. Alex Casta, Head of Technology Transfer and Innovation at Biocat, explained that innovation and research support management profiles are needed and pointed out that nowadays some of the most valued attributes are a mixed education (business and scientific), international experience and the ability to communicate.

Marta Cortijo, biochemist and Director of Technology Transfer at the Parc de Recerca UAB, insisted on the importance of competences and abilities associated with project management, such as planning, coordination, customer focus and strategic vision. "Very necessary" competences in conjunction with the scientific knowledge.

Georgina Sorrosal, biotechnologist and Project Manager at Advancell, stressed the importance of being proactive and making use of professional social networks. Finally, Maria Ortega, consultant in international project management, cautioned attendees that specialising from the start can mean they pigeonhole themselves and lose out on job opportunities and stressed the importance of continuing education.

Photo caption: A World Beyond the Academy conference: professional perspectives in the biomedical sector, at the UAB.