Where Science meets Business
Have you ever considered combining science and entrepreneurship? These worlds don't seem to meet often, but thery have more in common than you might think. Our editor Louke went to investigate.
You might not even know it, but Leiden is one of the main hubs of science research.. Not only does it have a rich history of different scientists, the oldest university of the Netherlands and a lot of students, but it also has over 100 bioscience companies settled in the Bio Science Park. Right now, the Bio Science Park is being extended into Oegstgeest in order to accommodate the ever growing list of bioscience companies. This would make the Bio Science Park the most optimal place for scientists to grow their ideas out to a real product, and give small businesses the opportunity to grow with the large number of students present looking for internships and work. But in practice it is pretty tough for the two to connect. Even though they’re located in the same spot, the science- and businessworld don’t always meet.
This can be stressful for both sides. So, it would be great if there was a place where people from every side of the Bio Science Park could meet and share ideas. Luckily, somebody has already thought of this and created Science Meets Business: a monthly meeting where everybody who wants to join gets to listen to three talks about scientific research. This can either be within a university or a business. They can also mingle with other students, scientists and entrepreneurs. To check if it lives up to the hype, I went to one of their meetings.
All sorts of backgrounds
They usually meet within the biopartner 1 building, one of the black buildings next to the USC sports fields. In the foyer I grabbed a drink and talked to some people as the attendees started to trickle in. Everybody got a little name tag with their institution and role on it, so it was clear who you were talking to. With one glance, you could see the diversity in everyone’s background and experience. There were master students, PhD’s, researchers and entrepreneurs, and I think my colleague Anne and I were the only bachelor’s students.
After everyone arrived the talks started. Unfortunately we had only two speakers, but they made up for the missing speaker by having very interesting talks. Miguel Ferreia talked about doing bioscientific research in space with his company ICE cubes and Mahzar Ali from TU Delft explained a bit about his upcoming research about quantum transduction. I will not be going into the topics right now because the speakers and the topics change with every meeting, even though they were very interesting. But, as you can see, these two topics were already very broad and touched on different parts of science, which my knowledge hungry mind definitely enjoyed.
But the fun really started after the talks ended, when everybody could get free drinks at the bar and talk to everybody present. Everybody was friendly and it was quite easy to approach people. I had the most wonderful time talking to different people and sharing ideas and opinions about subjects that weren’t always related to the topics of the talks. I had a quick philosophical conversation about the basis of science, and one about how life could possibly exist. Dr. Ali personally explained warp to me and how this could be used (in theory) for space travel. I also learned about different research people were doing. So I really enjoyed the meeting, but I was curious about other people’s experiences.
Many others were there for the first time. Most of them had the same experience as I did. They found it interesting to hear about things going on outside of their field and it brought them new insights. Notably, a lot of the master students were at the meeting because they heard it was a good place to find internships, which was confirmed by the regulars as well. The people who had been going for a long time also indicated that the meetings stay interesting and fun over the years, with new people and talks providing new insights at every meeting.
So in conclusion, if you want to get out of your bubble a little bit and are interested in either the wide spectrum of science or maybe becoming an entrepreneur, I would advise you to join the meetings on the second Thursday of every month. Be sure to reserve a place via their website, where you will also find more information about the upcoming speakers.