Interview: "This opportunity gave me the chance to work in a field different from my academic background and develop my professional expertise", RIS Fellow at AZTI
RIS Fellowships is dedicated to MSc students, graduates and young entrepreneurs from EIT RIS countries. They will have the opportunity to apply academic knowledge in practical context of work to spur a weave of entrepreneurial innovations in their home countries.
Debora Campos, fellow, and Eduardo Puertolas, mentor, tell us about their experience with this Programme.
Fellow: Débora Campos
What encouraged you to apply for this internship?
In my case, I was finishing my PhD in June and I was looking for opportunities to go abroad to grow in my scientific career. I had been at the same institution for 12 years and I needed to do something to change my trajectory. This led me to feel that I wanted to know other places where science is produced with an applicable objective which is different from the research done at universities, where it is usually more fundamental. This kind of internship gave me the chance to experience what I was looking for and, even better, to do it during a certain period of time.
What has this experience meant to you?
This experience meant a lot! I have to say that it was not easy to make a life changing decision at the age of 30. But after adapting to the city and the company I felt very good; I felt like at home. I really liked the work environment and the way of doing things. This is why I can imagine working in AZTI for a longer period. Everything in AZTI and Bilbao was easy. I grew a lot and learned a lot of things that I will be able to apply in my life.
What would you highlight about this experience? What is the main advantage of doing an internship abroad?
The opportunity to work in a field different from my academic background. I have a PhD in Biotechnology and in Food Science and Engineering and AZTI gave me the opportunity to apply my knowledge in business and management into an European project. Therefore, I developed my professional expertise in a very important field, which has enabled me to grow in my knowledge and will help me in my future career.
What are your plans after finishing the internship?
Since I has already finished my PhD, I am currently applying for job opportunities. Now I am looking for jobs which require a specialisation in biotechnology with applied knowledge from business management on science, as well as transfer of science to the industry.
Would you recommend this internship to your colleagues? Why?
Yes, of course! It is a unique opportunity. It gives you the chance to know different places, fields and expertises, to expand your knowledge and network, which will become very important for your future career.
Mentor: Eduardo Puertolas
In which aspects can AZTI contribute to the fellows professional progress?
The department in which Débora Campos has been involved (New Foods), works closely with food companies, making a special emphasis on the scaling up of the products and the business development. Thus, her experience at AZTI was a good supplement to her good academic training. Event more, taking into account that she is setting up a new startup based on their research findings. Additionally, this department works in several European projects with more than 30 partners from more than 10 countries which has gave Debora relevant European contacts in the Food Sector as well as the chance to build new opportunities for collaborations.
What has a person from another country, with a new, fresh approach, brought to AZTI?
Incorporating people with complementary know-how from other countries is always rewarding and gives new perspectives. It also contributes to the internationalisation of AZTI and to our aim of becoming an European reference in the Food Sector. Débora Campos, in particular, has brought to AZTI her experience in the creation of a startup, complementing AZTI's know-how about business development. Moreover, she has put all her background and contacts at the service of the project in which she has been working, contributing with new ideas and methodologies.