SLU news

Educational Adventure: FFB PhD students gain insights from top Swiss companies and research institutes!

Published: 02 July 2024

In June 2024, several PhD students from the research school “Focus on food and biomaterials” at SLU visited several organizations in Switzerland, which are working with topics relevant to food and biomaterials.

Participants: Andreia Massamby, Eduardo Pinela, Luying Wang, Piera Wiesinger, Rolando Contreras Useglio, Shishanthi Jayarathna, Shuning Qi, Sunera Nurmomade and Tarja Wiegel.

Our PhD students had the opportunity to visit different companies and research institutes to understand how industries and academies are working to satisfy society's demands. 

On the first day, the students visited the Lab of the start-up Bloom Biorenewables based in Lausanne where natural materials found in biomass are transformed to create alternatives to petroleum.

On the second day, they were hosted by biopharmaceutical company Basilea in Basel. The company are committed to discovering, developing and commercializing innovative drugs to meet the needs of patients with severe bacterial or fungal infections. Then, the students visited the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (TPH). Swiss TPH is a global health institute with a particular focus on low and middle-income countries. The students had the opportunity to discuss topics about malaria, tuberculosis and worms as well as visit their labs. Later, PhD students from Swiss TPH presented their research projects and interacted with PhD students from SLU who discussed their research projects and visited their labs.

On the last day of the study trip, the students visited specific research groups at ETH Zürich, a leading university for science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Europe. They visited the labs, interacted with the research groups and discussed ongoing projects.

Andreia Massamby, Eduardo Pinela, Luying Wang, Piera Wiesinger, Rolando Contreras Useglio, Shishanthi Jayarathna, Shuning Qi, Sunera Nurmomade and Tarja Wiegel found the study trip very interesting and useful for enhancing the learning experience and fostering curiosity.

“The goal of the research school “Focus on food and biomaterials” is to provide the academia/industry with highly qualified researcher/specialists in relevant sectors as well as provide PhD students with an intellectual hub of knowledge and facilitate establishing a network connecting FFB's students with academia and society. I hope that this study visit inspires the students and motivates them to pursue their academic and career goals with greater enthusiasm”, says Galia Zamaratskaia, the study director of FFB.

“It was a great opportunity to visit the prestigious pharmaceutical company Basilea and get inspired by the excellent research group at Swiss TPH. The start-up Bloom Bio renewables gave me insights to build up alternatives to convert and transform biomass into side products from cassava residuals in Mozambique”, says Andreia Massamby.

“The study trip to Switzerland was an amazing opportunity to discover how the academic and industrial environment is, both in a professional and personal perspective, in a different European country”, says Eduardo Pinela.

“I was very glad to have the opportunity to visit pharmaceutical company and discuss with experts about structure identification by mass spectrometry”, says Luying Wang.

“I am thankful for the FFB research school to finance this study trip to Switzerland and giving us the freedom to organize the trip ourselves and to choose the companies, institutes and universities we wanted to visit. What I liked most was the diversity of sites, from start-up to established company, research institute and university groups. This spectrum ignited ideas and thoughts about different career opportunities”, says Piera Wiesinger.

“The Study visit gave us a unique opportunity to engage in valuable networking, gaining insights into the diverse realities of different companies and exploring different researches within academic units. During the study visit, we could observe from growing companies to large companies supported by different processes, as well as equipment and different research currently carried out at universities”, says Rolando Contreras Useglio.

“I am very happy that I could participate in this study trip. Experiencing both the industry and academic environments in another country was a fantastic opportunity. It allowed us to gain new knowledge and broaden our perspectives", says Shishanthi Jayarathna.

“I think it’s a nice and valuable opportunity for PhD student to learn more from people in industry. The company we visited such as Baselia highlighted the significant investment in technology development and innovation. Their advanced detection equipment, automation systems, and investment in new product development make me think more about the importance of innovation. Which are not available in my PhD courses”, says Shuning Qi.

“The study visit was very important to broaden our vision, think about innovation and how to serve the society by tackling the challenges in the future. It was a great opportunity to see differences between academia and industry, says Sunera Nurmomade.

“The trip was very interesting, and I particularly enjoyed learning more about the work and processes within a pharmaceutical company, especially the analytical and bioanalytical aspects” says Tarja Wiegel.

Read the report from the trip (click here)


The visit was financially supported by the research school “Focus on food and biomaterials” (click here for link to homepage)