Overview InfoExplore the possibilities of combining science with business
Explore a Career in Bio Entrepreneurship | Katerina Danezi
In this interview we get to meet Katerina who is a biomedical researcher and also runs a career development initiative for science students called SyneXion. We talk about how Katerina found her own way in the science field by adding on an entrepreneurship element to her career path, we explore the major difference scientists do make in the world and of course, we ask Katerina for her career advice in science.
This interview is only 17 minutes long, but we managed to fit in a lot of juicy stuff on science. Check out the full video interview or scroll down for selected highlights..
Nexgen Careers: You did a master’s in bio entrepreneurship. Can you please explain a little bit about what it is and how it’s supported you in your career journey?
Katerina: So this is the most magical thing I think I’ve done in my career. It was such a random decision. And I think this will be an interesting story for the people following this talk.
I found my Masters programme while scrolling on the Facebook page of a friend of mine, while I was in Paris. So, it was such a weird moment. And I saw it, and it was like, everything clicked, you know? There are these aha moments where you say, “Okay, now, this is for me”, So that’s what I felt.
I was always involved in academic projects, research stuff. And people were initially telling me, “What are you going to do? This sounds a bit like it will take you out of the way. Don’t want to be a researcher anymore?”
But that’s not true. First of all, to explain a bit further, what bio-entrepreneurship is . It’s basically the link between biological sciences (mostly), but also sciences like agriculture, so all life sciences, – and entrepreneurship. In the context of benefiting from the sciences, to make a real product that will then be used in the society to bring something better to give. That’s what entrepreneurship is for me.
“I found my Masters programme while scrolling on the Facebook page of a friend of mine, while I was in Paris. So, it was such a weird moment.”
And how it helped me, it’s another thing. So first of all, through this Master’s, and through some experiences that followed these masters, through EIT Helath, The European Innovation, and Technology Institute. They organize a lot of projects. So they organized some projects that I took part in.
One of them was the EIT Starship programme which, for me, was a game changer. Within an international team, we did a project starting from a challenge. We had a top line need led innovation. We were analyzing the needs of all the stakeholders in that project.
The project had to do with schizophrenic patients and their medication adherence and how we can increase the medication adherence of these patients. And by creating a new concept or ameliorating an already existing concept, or product. With this team, we were people from Europe and outside Europe, which was amazing.
We traveled to five different cities in Europe to work together. This was incredible. And we were taking classes and working at the same time. So during this project, I realized that what I want to do in the future is innovation and product design. Based on the need led innovation, of course, as I said.
I want to help patients that are dealing with problems to solve them, even if this means that we have to change an already existing product, because innovation is not always just creating new things. So that’s how it helped me basically, in my career, I had I opened new doors that I wouldn’t be able to open in any way if I had just the classical path of a biomedical scientist.
Learn more about the EIT Starship Programme below
3 Quick Questions
What good in the world does your job do?
I’m talking as a biomedical scientist now. My job is to give inspiration and feed the world with solutions. It’s a source of creativity for me. And the good my job brings to the world is that it really helps people to the core, and it helps them without expecting anything back. So we are trying to find cures for diseases as researchers. And I think that this is an action that is so pure that I don’t know if a lot of other jobs have this purity in their vision.
What is it about your job that makes you get out of bed in the morning?
I would say it’s the unknown. Every day is a different day. And this is something super exciting. You never know how the day will evolve, you know that you will do experiments, as I said in the beginning, which is exciting. But then sometimes it’s not, there is a lot of failure in our jobs as scientists. But still, even if there’s failure, there are also successes and excitement of the unknown. That’s enough to get you out of bed.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into a science career?
Oh, that’s an easy one, I always give the same answer to this one. So what I’ve seen, and what was very important in my case, it’s to create the opportunities by yourself, don’t wait for the opportunities to come in front of you. You have to learn how to create them. And if you create them, you will be trained to see them as well in your surroundings.
The french chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur once said: “Luck favors only the prepared mind”. So if your mind is not prepared, it won’t be able to see the opportunities around you, nor create them. And also, don’t be afraid. Just go and talk to people. This is the best thing you can do. Network and create opportunities.
If you want to learn more about Katerina’s career journey, or ask her for advice on careers in life sciences, reach out to her on LinkedIn. Happy networking! 🗣️💬
Nexgen Careers Host Cecilia
I'm Nexgen Careers Head of Content.