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Learning beyond borders

North Carolina (NC) State University and the Danish Technical University (DTU) have the goal to establish a world-class program in bioprocess R&D and workforce training.

NLS asked Jennifer Hemphill, Industry Liaison Officer at the DTU Lifelong Learning Program in Denmark about the initiative.

Funded by a USD 27 million grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF), the Accelerated Innovation in Manufacturing Biologics (AIM-Bio) project brings together these two leading academic institutions and their complementary areas of experience and expertise. This is the first time that the NNF has awarded a grant of this size outside the Nordic countries.

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Laura Salse Guiu, a PhD student at the DTU’s Department of Bioengineering, participated in a course on automation and control of yeast fermentation.

“I gained essential knowledge about online sensors and their application in fermentation process control. Engaging in theoretical lectures and hands-on simulation exercises significantly enriched my understanding of bioreactor process control,” she says.

 

Tours of BTEC labs at the third annual Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Symposium.

 

North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park (RTP) offers a vibrant ecosystem for both life science professionals and students, presenting a wealth of opportunities in this dynamic field, describes Jennifer Hemphill, Industry Liaison Officer at DTU Biotech Lifelong Learning.

“It hosts numerous pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare companies, providing ample job opportunities. Prominent organizations like Novo Nordisk, GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences call RTP home, fostering a competitive job market and a rich network of industry connections. RTP also boasts cutting-edge research facilities and life science students in RTP benefit from proximity to renowned academic institutions, including NC State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Moreover, RTP’s collaborative culture encourages students to intern, gain practical experience, and connect with industry leaders, enhancing their career prospects.”

 

A poster session is held at the third annual Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Symposium.

 

The NNF grant runs over 5 years (until 2025), but when finished both universities will continue to offer the courses developed through this initiative, reassures Jennifer Hemphill. “This continuation ensures that the knowledge and expertise gained during AIM-Bio will remain accessible to students and professionals interested in biomanufacturing.”

Furthermore, the project leaders from both NC State and DTU are actively exploring avenues to sustain and strengthen their research and education collaboration beyond the conclusion of AIM-Bio, she adds.

“This ongoing partnership reflects our dedication to advancing biotechnology and ensuring its accessibility to a broad audience of learners and researchers,” Hemphill says.

This article was originally published in NLS magazine No 03 2023, out September 2023

Featured photo of Jennifer Hemphill: DTU