Category: Early Careers – Page 2

BioProNET- and PHYCONET-funded bursaries – microalgal synthetic biology

BioProNET and PHYCONET are funding bursaries to present a ‘microalgal synthetic biology’ talk at the 2017 Microbiology Society meeting in Edinburgh.

The annual conference of the Microbiology Society will be held in Edinburgh from April 3-6, 2017, and will feature a 2-day symposium on ‘Synthetic and Systems Approaches to Microbiology‘ on April 3rd and 4th. An important component of this symposium will be a session on Engineering of new-generation microalgal cell factories’ featuring several key speakers (see below). This session will include 6 x 15-minute offered talks, to be chosen on the basis of submitted abstracts. BioProNET and PHYCONET are funding £300 bursaries to contribute towards registration, travel and accommodation for the 6 persons selected to give the offered talks.

Anyone interested in presenting one of the offered talks should send a 1-page abstract to the organiser of the session, Professor Colin Robinson with full contact details. The abstract should describe the nature of the talk, which should cover research in microalgal synthetic biology or exploitation. Abstracts will be judged by a small panel and we are particularly seeking submissions from early-career researchers. Deadline for submission is November 30, 2016

The programme is still being finalised but confirmed speakers and programme are as follows:
Monday April 3rd:
Prof Lynn Rothschild, Head of Synbio, NASA
Prof John Ward, University College London, UK: Using bacteriophages to make novel nano-scale devices
Prof Jeff Hasty: Transferring plant pathways into microbes
Prof Fernando de la Cruz, Universidad de Cantabria: Systems approaches to studying regulatory networks of bacterial plasmids
Prof.  Natalie Balaban, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel: Mechanism of evolution of antibiotic resistance
Prof Rosalind Allen, University of Edinburgh: The physics of microbial interactions

Tuesday, April 4th:
Dr. Dora Tang, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden: ‘Artificial’ cell synthesis
Prof Doug Densmore, Boston University: Design and assembly of biological systems
Dr R. Berry, University of Oxford: Engineering an artificial bacterial flagellar motor using DNA scaffold nanotechnology
Afternoon session: Engineering of new-generation microalgal cell factories
Prof Olaf Kruse (University of Bielefeld): Metabolic engineering of microalgae as green cell factories
Prof Poul Erik Jensen (University of Copenhagen): Engineering of cyanobacteria for production of high-value products: optimization of electron transport and metabolome formation
3 x 15-min offered talks
Prof Alison Smith (University of Cambridge): Plug and play – developing tuneable gene expression in micro algae using synthetic biology approaches
3 x 15-min offered talks

2016 early career researcher event

BioProNET early career research event 2016
September 6–7th Brighton Mercure Seafront Hotel

Many thanks to everyone wh made this year’s event a sucess!


The programme for this year’s event reflected feedback from delegates at last year’s highly successful meeting; delegates said they wanted more time to focus on CVs, cover letters, being interviewed (and interviewing) and preparation for job applications, as well as presentation skills. The facilitators and presenters at this year’s event had considerable experience of recruiting for bioprocessing- and indistrial biotechnology-related careers.

We were pleased to welcome Martin Popplewell and his team from Coconut Communications to this event to deliver the media training sessions. Martin has more than 25 years of experience working in journalism, including at the BBC, Sky News and ITN.

In the media training session, delegated worked in small groups (6 people) with a trainer in a practical session where they prepared for an interview, were interviewed and then received a personal review and critic of their performance.  They will have two interviews, allowing them to learn and improve, and they received receive a copy of their interviews and a booklet covering the theory of good media interviews.

Day 1 Tuesday 6th September: Presentation and media skills
13.00 Arrival and lunch
14.00 Introduction and interactive group activity
14.30 Presentation and media training part one – Coconut Communications
15.30 Coffee break
15.30 Presentation and media training part two – Coconut Communications
17.30 Social session – Brighton pier and funfair
20.00 Dinner in hotel

Day 2 Wednesday 7th September: CV, interview and interviewing skills*
9.00 Keynote speaker and activities – Tony Bradshaw, Knowledge Transfer Network
10.00 Parallel sessions 1. CV clinic, interview and interviewing in small groups with facilitator
11.15 Coffee break
11.45 Parallel sessions 2. Expert talks – recruiting, CVs and interviews plus Q&A sessions
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Departure

Paul Stephens – UCB
Amanda Weiss – Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
Paul Davis – Mologic
Andrew Staphnill – University of Cardiff
Mark Smales – University of Kent
Alan Dickson – University of Manchester
Tony Bradshaw – Knowledge Transfer Network
Jamie Parkin – BBSRC
James Winterburn – University of Manchester



Early Career Researcher event

BioProNET early career researcher meeting
September 15-16th 2015, Cripps Hall, University of Nottingham

This event (two half days) featured feature career-development workshops and activities, including Myers–Briggs-type personality profiling as well as sessions from individuals in academia, industry and outside the lab highlighting various career paths (including any wrong turns!) and opportunities. There was also be the chance to attend a mock interview or a CV clinics, and speak to a recruitment agency. And the winner of The Apprentice 2012 Ricky Martin shared his experiences with us prior to dinner.

Thank you to everyone who attended and gave feedback; the programme is listed below for reference.

We are in the very early stages of planning next year’s event, which we anticipate will have a more scientific focus, for example by giving delegates the opportunity to present their research. Please get in touch with us if you have suggestions or would like to be involved in the organisation.

Scientific exchange funding awarded

Congratulations to Luis Martin, Bangor University who was awared £500 to fund a short scientific exchange with the Università degli Studi di Salerno in Italy to study the counter current fractionation of glycolipids.

“As a result of the scientific exchange, I was able to understand and master the technique of supercritical counter current fractionation,” said Luis. The visits also enabled the relationship between the two universities to be strengthened: “Two Erasmus plus stays next year have been set up, with two MEng coming over to our facilities, accounting for a total time of one year,” Luis highlights.

Read the full report here.

We have funding of up to £500 per award for early career researchers to foster short (up to 1 month) exchange visits to another lab, with the aim of developing research collaborations. The host lab can be academic or industrial but it should be working in a different discipline or should allow the applicant to learn a new technique.

The money should be used to fund the scientific exchange, such as travel to the host lab and accommodation, but should not be used for consumables or travel to conferences. BioProNET classify an early career researcher as a scientist who has spent less than 10 years in active postgraduate research. PhD students are classed as early career researchers, but individuals with a tenured position — such as a lecturership — would be excluded.

A short report will be needed at the end of the project; payment will be in arrears and receipts will be needed.

A call is currently open. Please contact Charlotte Harrison or Joanne Flannelly with any queries or to submit your application.

A day in the life

There are many career oppurtunities availble to people with scientific training. But it is often difficult finding out about these roles, especially if you are currently in an academic environment. So here we present ‘a day in the life’, a series of interviews with people with scientific backgrounds who are lab-based or have moved away from the bench (click on the tittle to access; more interviews will be added as they become available).