CHAIR+HEL4CHIROLED: joint ITNs meeting and workshop

Last week, we have organised our second event in Strasbourg! But this time, it was much bigger, as we joined with the HEL4CHIROLED ITN!

Students and PIs arrived on Tuesday night and we all met in a restaurant to share a typical Alsatian meal: Tarte Flambées and beers!

Part 1: scientific meeting

The first day (26th of April) of the meeting was dedicated to science. All ESRs present (28 in total) gave a 5 minutes flash presentation on their project. Three prizes were awarded to reward the best presentations: Marco Preuss won first prize, while Paola Matozzo and Dehang Yin shared ex-aequo 2nd place!

Group photo combining both our ITNs!


Part 2: Workshop

On the 27th of April, we held our workshop entitled “Pursuing a Career in Industry“. The objective of this workshop was to offer insight from various industrial perspectives to our ESRs. Indeed, most of our ESRs are heading towards the end of their PhD, and not all of them will continue with in an academic career.

We were really happy to welcome a great selection of speaker who shared their very diverse career experience with our students, as well as students from the University of Strasbourg!

Régis Réau from AirLiquide explained how he fulfilled his dream to work in industry after 20+ years of academic career. He could share great insight from both his experiences, and insisted on the complementarity of academic and industrial work towards doing great science.

Second on stage, Lysiane Richert, founder and ex-CSO of Kaly-Cell, told us about her journey. Having held both industrial and academic positions, she decided to create her own company in order to pursue her research freely. After almost 20 years of dedicated hard work, the company became very successful and was finally incorporated by GBA group.

Bringing another very different perspective, Michael Parmentier, from Novartis, shared his story. In his case, academia was the initial goal, but his profile was better suited for industry. After over 10 years at Novartis, Michael could share with us some very useful insights and hands-on tips for the ESRs, from how to target the right job for you, all the way through to the interview stage.

Another speaker, another perspective! Thomas Biellmann is the co-founder of Qfluidics, a Strasbourg-based startup developing liquide tubes using ferromagnetic fluids, for applications in flow chemistry. Thomas brought a young entrepreneur perspective to the table, and highlighted how similar backgrounds (PhD in chemistry) can lead to very different roles and responsibilities within the same startup.

Finally, and to close the 360 perspective on the topic, the last key speakers of the day were recruiting experts Francine Jeanblanc and Renaud Dumontier, from HR Consultancy Talents First. The duo shared their insight on how companies use consultancies to find candidates, what their role is in the process, and highlighted the importance of LinkedIn to be found online when looking for a position.

Finally, the day ended with a round table, with Michael Parmentier (Novartis), Pierre-Georges Echeverria (Minakem), Jean-Jacques Bernardini (Grand E-nov), Christos Chochos (Advent Technologies), Matthieu Jouffroy and Maëva Mercier (Janssen). The speakers discussed specific topics such as the importance of soft skills, how to foster collaboration between industry and academia, the question of gender biais in recruitment, etc. This last hour brought some very good exchanges and raised questions from the audience.

The ESRs present were overall very happy from this day. We would like to express again our gratitude to the speakers who contributed and made this day a success!

Part 3: Industrial visits and scientific conference

We concluded our week by offering to our ESRs an immersive experience, with the visit of two chemical industries in the Illkirch Parc of Innovation: Alsachim, and Chiral Technologies. For the sake of the visit, we split into small groups and received a tour of the different laboratories, showing again the variety of activities and positions available within each company.

Last but not least, we concluded the week with a scientific talk from two former University of Strasbourg PhD students, now scientists at Janssen, Soufyan Jerhaoui and Matthieu Jouffroy, showing their complementary work towards developing McL-1 inhibitors.

This was a pretty intense week, and none of this would have been possible without the help of HEL4CHIROLED Coordinator and Project Manager Jeanne Crassous and Natalia Del Rio, and Chiral Technologies president Pilar Franco.