Barcelona Round Table- A collaboration activity with ASBTEC, the Catalan Association of Biotechnologists

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The European biotech and life sciences field is becoming more applied. We are finding new methods to aid the transfer of research and ideas from academia to industry. Bringing solution ideas to tangible tools that could help the day to day lives of patients, professionals, researchers, and students. The event created a “can-do” atmosphere for all those attending, and instilled a strong message to inspire and motivate future biotech professionals. The attendees discussed their varied career paths, and shared experiences that had guided them to leading positions in the Biotech field. Their paths were not one-way paths, they tended to contain many difficulties to be confronted, many positive moments, but also moments to be introspective and to think about what was necessary to further their careers. Questions posed to students or researchers at the start of their careers: Do I feel the need to follow a career in academia or in industry? Do I want to become an entrepreneur? What is needed? 

This roundtable was hosted in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona is experiencing the forefront of change, becoming a center of technology and life sciences innovation in Europe. The event focused on the varied careers of relevant professionals in the life sciences sector in Barcelona: entrepreneurship, investment, tech transfer, and research. 

The event opened with the presentation of associations that have worked to achieve the burgeoning interest in Biotechnology seen in Barcelona. The event was organized in collaboration with ASBTEC, the Catalan Biotechnology Association and with the support of FEBiotec, the Spanish Federation of Biotechnology and the IQS, Sarrià Chemistry Institute, where the event took place.

It continues with the formative session of Maribel Bergés, Entrepreneur: “The paths to becoming a life sciences startupper”. Maribel hosted a very inspiring session, captivating those present. Interesting perspectives regarding the position of life science start-ups within the biotech sector and how to convey the importance of these issues to the public. The Round Table was well represented with Daniel Oliver, Director of Capital Cell, Esther Riambau, Life Sciences Director of UPF Ventures, Laura Rodríguez, Investment Analyst of Invivo Ventures and Salvador Borrós, Professor and Entrepreneur in the IQS Institute.

During the Round Table, the importance of going from an idea to a real-world solution was highlighted. Participants learned what they had to take into account to start a life sciences business, learning from the successes, and failures, of the panel. Experts discussed the life cycle of the people and the importance to ask for advice in forging their own career paths. Every stage of a person’s career has different objectives and requirements. Identifying each stage is important to establish priorities and to determine whether we are working effectively to achieve our goals. Working in different fields and positions provides the best opportunity to decide which path is the most suitable for an individual.

The participants were very passionate about changing the world through science and technology. There was a strong desire to continue learning from entrepreneurs that have already journeyed through the exciting world of startups. Those that were harbouring a new idea had an excellent opportunity to connect with people from other sectors, receiving first-hand advice from successful entrepreneurs. 
The event was jointly organized by YEBN (Young European Biotech Network, www.yebn.eu) and ASBTEC (Catalan Association of Biotechnology, www.asbtec.org) in collaboration with IQS (Institut Químic de Sarrià from the Ramon Llull University (https://www.iqs.edu/es), FEBiotec (Federación Española de Biotecnología, https://febiotec.es/).

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