Plenary session

Greet Musch (FAMPH) - 'PhD’s : Shaping the future @ national and European competent authorities'

Bringing innovative therapies (medicines and health products) in a timely and safe manner to the patient is challenging, also for health authorities. In addition to the tremendous evolutions on a scientific level, health authorities are also faced with significant changes in the global/European and national policy making /regulatory environment and embrace partnerships with all relevant stakeholders (i.e. learned societies, industry, health care providers, patient organisations…).

PhDs are searched for specific expertise areas in different types of functions but are also needed for shaping an integrated helicopter view at policy/regulatory level translating the investments of ”clinical research broad sense“ to the benefit of the patients and society.

This presentation will illustrate in more detail the current jobs, filled by PhDs, but will also reflect on future needs.

Henk Joos (FlandersBio) - 'Orientation, job and training opportunities in a vibrant life sciences cluster in Flanders'

The Flanders Life Sciences Hot Spot has developed in 35 years into a vibrant life sciences based network economy. This Hot Spot houses more than 300 dedicated life sciences companies and 95.000 direct and indirect jobs. We are one of the leaders in Europe with a primary focus on novel health solutions.

The 5 factors that have determined the successful roll out of the cluster are smart financing and talent development strategies, the development of an intense ecosystem around excellence in science and innovation and expertise along the value chain and finally a central location in Europe. But we do not have the right to be complacent: the companies and research groups in our region continue to grow and to mature and we need especially more money and more industry ready talent to underpin this aggressive growth.

The presentation will illustrate this framework, will analyze the competence needs for a transforming cluster and the initiatives that a cluster organization like FlandersBio is taking to tackle these needs. Let this be an invitation to get to know and to join this vibrant economy.

Theo Meert (Janssen) - 'The societal (health care) challenges, the new playground of our PhDs'

The world is continuously changing and so is our local eco-system. Growing and ageing populations, demands for energy, food & drinkable water and the tendency for staying healthier for longer periods of time will continuously impact our search for solutions. Classic (business) models and ways of behaving need disruptive alternatives. As a result, education and training also needs to adapt to these more integrated and information driven varying situations.

In healthcare, for instance, the development of new drugs/treatment options capable of interfering with, but also preventing of present diseases with high unmet medical need is becoming a more complex and continuously evolving process. In order to realize patient focused breakthroughs, it requires the integration of various disciplines, technologies and infrastructures beyond the classical in house development and CRO-like collaborations often seen in the Pharma industry. External innovation, in depth collaborations with other, including non-pharma, companies, academia, scientific research institutes, SMEs and governmental agencies become part of the development process. Evolutions are not limited to the classical (pre)clinical R&D but are also reflected in the global product development and availability, stratified real world applications and healthcare models.

In general, the need of worldwide collaborations, but also the development of strong regional eco-systems, is essential for companies to innovate. As such a whole (new) field of opportunities will open for people with a broad, interdisciplinary, explorative and business mindset. This will become the new playground of our talented people, the PhDs.