Testimonial Alejandra Duque Jaramillo
On March 3rd 2018, the fist Industry and Innovation (In&Inno) Day organized by IMIM took place in Heidelberg, Germany. The event arose from the ideas of two second-year IMIM students, Karla Arévalo and myself. With the help and support from the IMIM academic staff, the In&Inno day was very successful. We started with presentations from second-year students about their internships; some had been in the industry and others, in universities, thus providing insights about both the industrial and academic sectors. This was followed by an interactive workshop by Frank Rust (SommerRust GmbH) and Georg Fisher (mindshift.one) about using Design Thinking to bring an idea to the market. Following lunch, the presentation coach Colin Bennett (Flames a Mile High) gave us an amazing talk about the “Psychology of Persuasive Presentations”. Colin’s talk was nothing like others I have attended about presentations, as his revolved around how to engage the audience and keep their attention, instead of how to design slides or how to stand in the front.
After a short break, the main event took place, “The Industry from Inside” session. Here, speakers from regional start-ups and life science companies presented themselves, their companies and the work they do. After each speaker’s introduction, there was time for students to ask them questions. Representatives from Merck, Roche Diagnostics, Hummingbird Diagnostics and ChecaMed were present, and this was a great opportunity to learn about the industry, from small to big companies, and how to get there. The day ended with a poster session were students presented their research or business ideas, and the Latin American partners of IMIM presented their Universities to students interested in going abroad.
As the In&Inno Day happened in the context of the IMIM Spring School, additional activities took place the day before and after. On March 2nd, we had the opportunity to visit Roche Diagnostics in Mannheim, a city very close to Heidelberg. For me, it was amazing to get to know all this company does, and to see from close their production plant for some of their products. On March 4th, there was a discussion panel about Career Paths, which was an event highlight for me. Speakers with an academic background, i.e. having a PhD and with different positions both in and outside academia, and entrepreneurships starting their companies introduced themselves briefly. After that, we were able to ask them all sort of questions about their motivations and careers, and they even provided advice. This discussion was so interesting that we even ran out of time and had to cut it short.
Overall, the In&Inno day and associated events were extremely successful. As an organizer, I was very happy with how things went and the response of other participants and speaker, who had nothing but positive comments. I think it was a great way to get an introduction to the Industry as a possible career path, either as an entrepreneurships creating its own company, or joining an existing one.