BESTie Zhengchun Lu (Baker Institute) will tell you why... Funded by the BEST Program, Zhengchun attended the 2016 BIO International Convention and experienced first hand what it means to be in a non-academic environment with BIO industry leaders and thousands of attendees.
See the BIO 2016 Infographic: 40% C-level attendees; 1800 exhibitors; 192 company presentations; 35,700 one-on-one partnering meetings!
"As the largest meeting of Biotechnology, the 15,000 attendees to the BIO 2016 include top pharma leaders, startup companies and other health-care related companies. It is a very intense experience for me to try my best to connect with people who are at much higher levels. Most of the guest speakers at each session are director, CEO, VP, manager, etc. The meeting was business oriented and focused on business partnership development. The experience is very unique and I’m glad that I got the opportunity to see what the real biotech world is. It is completely different from the academic environment.
In addition to regular seminar sessions, they also have company introduction sessions. It is a 15 min. talk and companies ranging from big pharma to small start ups will have the opportunity to give a highlight to talk about what they are doing, future business plans etc. Again, it allowed me to see what is going on in the real biotech world.
I would recommend this to others if they are interested in biotech and want to at least feel what the industry is doing. The downside is that the cost for the meeting is very expensive. So you need to get yourself prepared for the opportunity and get the most out of the conference if possible. For instance, you should get your resume ready for the career fair, get out of your comfort zone to talk to people who have nothing in common related to your research, etc."
The BEST Program provided a travel scholarship for Zhengchun's trip to San Francisco. In addition, accommodation was made for childcare to make it easier for her to participate in all of the meeting offerings.
"Connecting with the head of vaccine development at a major pharmaceutical company as a result of a one-on-one partnering meeting made the trip worth it!"--Zhengchun Lu