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Janssen experience

EUROSCIENCE OPEN FORUM 2010 TORINO AUTHOR: ALFONS BOESMANS

SCIENCE BUS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY
The most important component of Janssen Research & Development’s contribution to ESOF2010 was undoubtedly its organisation of the so-called ‘Science Busses’ en route for Turin. As with previous editions of ESOF, the organisers invited some 250 final year students to come to Turin by bus from Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy.

Janssen Research & Development took care of the organisation and logistics for one of these Science Busses, in liaison with the universities of Lund (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium) with which the company has long-standing relationships. As a progressive research centre in its own right, Janssen Research & Development is a strong advocate of encouraging further clustering within the life sciences. Initiatives such as the Øresund Science Region, Flanders Bio and collaborative accords with several universities are examples of this.

Candidates were required to provide a letter of recommendation from their professor along with a short description and/or video outlining their vision for the future evolution of the life sciences over the coming decades. The result was an attractive mix of students from European, African and Asian backgrounds, men and women from different faculties, who all nonetheless share a genuine enthusiasm for research and innovation.

The Janssen Research & Development bus departed in the early morning of Tuesday 29 June in Lund, driving via Copenhagen to arrive in Antwerp in the evening. Here, the Belgian and Dutch students joined the group and met each other for the first time. This also presented the occasion for students from the same university but in different disciplines to get acquainted, often for the first time.

On the following day, the group was given a tour of the Janssen Research & Development site in Beerse by some of the young researchers working there, members of the ‘Young Professional Network’ at Janssen Research & Development. The trip was of dual significance to the visiting students. On the one hand they were given a complete overview of every phase of the process leading to innovative products, while also seeing first hand what kinds of roles young graduates can play in that process.

From Beerse the bus headed for the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France) where Parliamentary Attaché, Christelle Hamm, gave the group a tour. It was more than a tourist visit, however, because the often critical youth were able to raise several issues related to every aspect of European politics and scientific policy in particular. In the meantime, participants on the bus trip traverse the boundaries of their respective universities and nationalities and engaged in animated discussions about all manner of topics.

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