Internship with leading chemical company proves to be a great opportunity for Jan

Internship with leading chemical company proves to be a great opportunity for Jan

Jan Bettgenhaeuser wanted to experience working in industry and to get the opportunity to understand the workings of a commercial lab. His PIPS placement provided the ideal chance to do this. Jan, a PhD student based in The Sainsbury Laboratory, spent his 12 week internship at BASF Germany, a leading multi-national chemicals company.

“I was particularly interested in gaining commercial awareness and learning about the practical application of research” says Jan. “In addition, I was looking for an opportunity to assess both my suitability for a career in industry and the extent to which such a career aligns with my career aspirations”.

This internship project involved fungicide research within a research group at BASF and data analysis within the technical marketing department. Jan’s main duties and responsibilities included optimisation of a Scanning Electron Microscope approach to visualise the effect of a newly registered fungicide, collecting data for a new software project of the technical marketing department and writing sections for two dossiers for the registration of a new fungicide.

Both Jan and his hosts were extremely pleased with the outcomes of the internship. The main goal of the internship was to obtain publication-quality Scanning Electron Microscope images for the marketing department. Unfortunately, this was not possible due to technical difficulties but Jan advanced the project to a stage where this last step can be carried out as soon as the technical issues have been resolved. Meanwhile, the data Jan collected for the software development project of the technical marketing department is currently being used to test this software. Jan also wrote two chapters for dossiers, which will be submitted during the registration process of a new fungicidal product.

Jan feels he benefited greatly from his internship, saying “I was able to gain commercial awareness, especially for marketing purposes of newly developed products…. Moreover, I developed my analytical and communication skills, and also strengthened my team working ability in a commercial setting”. Due to the nature of his internship, Jan also obtained a background relevant to fungicide research.

Jan concludes that he found his internship to be a very valuable experience. He recommends other students to identify an industry or employer they are considering as an alternative to academia and use the PIPS internship “to give it a try”.