Maja Dolny studies Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. She spent her summer interning for us with the Skills team. She blogs about what she has learn from this so far.

This summer I spent 12 weeks interning with the Skills Team at IBioIC, thanks to ScotGrad programme.

My main assignment was to organise a full day of activities to introduce the Chinese Pharmaceutical University delegation to Industrial Biotechnology and IBioIC. This included identifying and booking speakers, and creating interactive workshops and presentations.

As the delegation had varying levels of English, I focused on identifying how to deliver topics in a clear and retainable way. One of the successful activities was performing chromatography to make a “rainbow” to demonstrate the use of food dyes produced by biotechnology in everyday products. A short introduction to our member companies was followed by a tour around Rapid Bio, our bioprocessing scale-up centre located in Glasgow, and was met with high excitement.  The delegation delivered a variety of presentations about the use of industrial biotechnology in China as well.

Delegates were surprised by the many ways Industrial Biotechnology could play into their future career. While there were some surprises on the day, I thankfully managed to solve them all, making the delegation visit a great success.

Another event I was lucky to be involved in was Chemistry@work. I prepared workshop materials about circular economy and Cellucomp’s Curran for special needs and mainstream students. I was in charge of conducting the flow of events and encouraged students to pursue their careers in science at the stall.

Apart from outreach activities, I helped my supervisors by conducting some key research.  This included scanning the biotechnology sector as a whole, especially for companies with innovative ideas that are particularly driven to help the environment. All this information was to support my other exciting project which was to come up with a board game which could be used as an education tool to introduce to the Industrial Biotechnology sector and Circular Economy to middle school students.

This internship has developed my communications skills, especially through my experience of explaining the science behind IB to a range of students varying in age, education level and understanding of English. Attending monthly IBioIC meetings as well gave me an idea of how the innovation centre works and how important it is for everyone in the team to be in communication with each other in order for projects to progress. I’ve realised the importance of communication in order to drive continuous scientific innovation. 

I believe having such a varied experience as an intern will help me be more flexible during my final year at university and my future career. My improved communication skills will enable me to be more confident during my thesis presentation. Time management by planning ahead was a great way of keeping up with my workload, an essential skill I have acquired for the rest of my professional career.

Applying for a summer internship with ScotGrad was a great decision and I am very grateful for the experience given to me by IBioIC skills team.