Good chemistry between local industry and university students

BE chemistry in Stavanger, the first annual biological and environmental chemistry career day, was held on Tuesday, March 21st, 2017.

  • Photo of crowd at BE chemistry career event, from above.
    Busy space at the BE chemistry career event at Måltidets Hus.
  • Photo of entry to BE chemistry, from above.
    Entry to BE chemistry, from above, with Tekna and MO(BI)2C representatives welcoming guests.
  • Valide at BE chemistry career event
  • Njorth Bio_ at BE chemistry career event
    Njorth Bio_
  • CealTech at BE chemistry career event
  • UiS biological chemistry and CORE at BE chemistry career event
    UiS CORE and biological chemistry
  • Graphene Power at BE chemistry career event
    Graphene Power
  • IVAR at BE chemistry career event
  • UiS environmental chemistry and Skolelaboratoriet at BE chemistry career event
    UiS Skolelaboratoriet and environmental chemistry
  • KiS, BIOCAT, and IRIS at BE chemistry career event
    Organizations: KiS, BIOCAT, IRIS
  • Prochaete Innovations at BE chemistry career event
    Prochaete Innovations
  • NKS at BE chemistry career event
  • Tine at BE chemistry career event
  • Schlumberger at BE chemistry career event
  • Skretting at BE chemistry career event
  • Blueplanet at BE chemistry career event
  • PharmaQ at BE chemistry career event
  • Halliburton and Nofima at BE chemistry career event
    Halliburton and Nofima
  • SUS at BE chemistry career event
  • Green Plants at BE chemistry career event
    Green Plants

'BE chemistry' was organized by the combined forces of Tekna Biotek and MO(BI)2C, a new organization for biological chemistry master students, PhDs and postdocs.The purpose of the event was to kickoff a better connection between the university and both companies and organizations with an interest in chemistry expertise. While there is strong focus on petroleum science in Stavanger on the private and university level, the organizing groups believe more can be done to attract attention to the other educational and industrial strengths Stavanger has to offer. 

Student interest and engagement

Over 200 students came to the event, with a focus to find out what the possibilities are like for further study, industrial thesis projects, and job prospects for chemistry graduates in Stavanger. Bjørn Pedersen, bachelor student in the biological chemistry program, said that he was able to come and talk to companies that he didn't even know of previously.

The friendly and open atmosphere was a major benefit of the event. According to Hanne Hagland, leader of CORE, "[the event had] students showing initiative and creating a positive atmosphere plus low threshold for companies to talk about themselves." This was reinforced by Jiju Poulose of Green Plants AS, who said he was "very much pleased to see the enthusiasm shown by the students." Inge Christ, leader of UiS skolelaboratoriet, mused that, "The career day was a success! A very good promotion of educational possibilities in chemistry at the University." 

In good company

The event was generously hosted by the iPark, where the UiS Centre for Organelle Research (CORE) facilities are located, and sponsored by two of the companies in attendance, Validé and Njorth Bio_. In total, 16 companies were represented, as well as four organizations and three UiS study programs (see the full list below). Validé is the official technology transfer office for the University of Stavanger and other local institutions. Of special interest to students at UiS is their Plogen funding program, which offers grants of up to 50.000 NOK to support innovative projects. Njorth Bio_ offers its services to help scientists take their ideas to the next level. It is headquartered in Tromsø but has four daughter companies, one of which is located here in Stavanger, Njorth Bio_boost, focused on enzyme development and boasting CORE's own Clemens Furnes as Chief Scientific Officer.

Other institutions in attendance include those from the biotechnology sector such as Stavanger Universitetets Sykehus (SUS), the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS), Tine, Skretting, Nofima, PharmaQ, Prochaete Innovations, and BluePlanet. Representing the environmental industry were IVAR and Green Plants. Energy players, Schlumberger and Halliburton, were there to say they need chemists too! Representing the local charge in graphene nanomaterials were CealTech and Graphene Power. iTekVR, specializing in 3D models, was also present. The Norwegian Chemical Society (NKS), the national graduate school in biocatalysis (BIOCAT), and Kjemi i Stavanger (KiS) all had stands along with UiS study program representatives from biological chemistry, environmental chemistry, and the praktisk-pedagogisk utdanning (PPU).

Organisations and companies
Validé Skretting IVAR CealTech UiS biological chemistry
Njorth Bio_ Nofima Green Plants iTekVR UiS environmental chemistry
SUS PharmaQ Schlumberger NKS UIS PPU
IRIS Prochaete Innovations Halliburton BIOCAT  
Tine BluePlanet Graphene Power KiS  

Looking forward

If there one thing to improve upon, is having a larger space to accomodate to the surprisingly high turnout. It's something the groups are looking to address for next year's event. With the success of this year and so many students interested, they hope to expand the space and number of companies in attendance. Commenting on the success of the event, Christina Selstø, leader of MO(BI)2C, said, "Everything went really well - it was busy, the representatives were great and the students were interested and eager to talk to them. I am looking forward to next years event that will be even better!"

Photo of the BE chemistry organizing team

The people that made the event happen! With effort from Tekna Biotek, MOBI2C, and the iPark. From left to right: Stefanie Lackner (MOBI2C), Marina Alexeeva (MOBI2C), Tia Tidwell (MOBI2C), Kristin Aaser Lunde (Tekna Biotek), Siv Dybvik (iPark Reception), Christina Selstø (MOBI2C leader), Marthe Blikra (Tekna Biotek Stavanger leader)