Internship at Adapt Low Carbon Group exceeds expectations

Internship at Adapt Low Carbon Group exceeds expectations

Janice Layhadi, a Biomolecular science student based in the School of Biological Sciences, undertook an internship at Adapt Low Carbon Group researching the development of biosufactants, with the hope of gaining new skills that would otherwise not have been developed through her PhD studies.

The biosurfactants market is increasing globally due to growing public awareness and tightening of stringent European laws in the use of chemical surfactants, which can be harmful to the environment and to consumers. Adapt Low Carbon Group wanted to recruit someone to help to develop the awareness of SMEs on biosurfactant applications. Janice proved to be a very competent candidate for this role, and she in return hoped to learn how to communicate complex technical matters in a way accessible to businesses, in addition to gaining knowledge on how businesses function and the processes required to bring an idea to an end product.

There were three main objectives for the 12 week internship, which started at the end of October 2014. The first was for Janice to fully grasp an understanding of the topic of biosurfactants and their commercial potential through desktop research and interviews with industry and academics. This included identifying key applications and markets that would be interested in the application of biosurfactants within UK and producing a business-focused report on the introduction of biosurfactants. The second objective was to support the development of knowledge transfer projects and map out opportunities in the sector of biosurfactants, both for industries and academics. The final objective was to organize a business-focused networking event on biosurfactants, mainly targeted towards small-to-medium (SME) enterprises in the east of England region, UK.

The internship provided a dynamic environment where Janice obtained first-hand exposure to communicating science in a way that is understandable to potential businesses. Janice also gained valuable transferable skills, saying “the past three months have definitely boosted my confidence level and put my time-management and organization skills to test…This experience has also allowed me to see other career opportunities outside academic research and allowed me to understand how businesses function. The skills I gained have definitely made me a more confident individual and will undoubtedly benefit me in the long term”.

Both Janice and her hosts were extremely happy with the outputs from the internship, demonstrating what a mutually beneficial process the internship programme can be. Janice reflects “The internship as a whole exceeded my expectations and I have thoroughly enjoyed it!”