March 30, 2021

‘Life Sciences with Industry’ Workshop 2021

8-12 November 2021. Innovative solutions to your R&D problem within a week

Why should you apply?

The workshop offers your company one week to collaborate with a team of dedicated researchers from different sectors of the life sciences on the problems in your proposed case. These teams integrate academic knowledge from different branches of the life sciences, including molecular and cellular biology, biophysics, genomics, bioinformatics, statistics, systems biology, biochemistry and bioengineering, thus ensuring that problems will be approached from different angles. The goal is to come to a concrete practical solution or new horizons with new insights. In addition, participation will strengthen your company's academic network, leading to possible new collaborative projects and partners, while having the chance to meet highly qualified potential employees.

The aim of the workshop

To encourage cooperation and exchange of knowledge between academia and industry, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the Lorentz Center (LC) jointly organise the ‘Life Sciences with Industry’ Workshop 2021. In a stimulating setting at the Lorentz Center in Leiden, scientists and researchers from both academia and industry work closely together to find innovative solutions to scientifically challenging and commercially important R&D problems within a week. Participants are young and talented scientists (PhDs, postdocs and more experienced researchers) from different sectors of the life sciences, guided by senior researchers from industry and academia.

Application procedure 

You can submit your proposal by filling in the application sheet (page 4). A maximum of four cases will be selected. The organisers strive to include R&D problems from both large industry and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The four cases will be selected according to the following selection criteria:

  • Is the proposal scientifically challenging and does it pose concrete questions in the (broad) field of the life sciences?
  • Does the problem address any relevant (societal) issues?
  • Can, in principle, a (partial) solution be generated in one week of hard work?
  • Is there active participation from the company during the workshop?

Preparation before the workshop week

Four problem proposals will be selected for the workshop. If your challenge is selected then the organisers will contact your company in order to optimise the R&D problem as stated in the proposal and tune it to the format of the workshop. Prior to the workshop, the organisation assigns each participant to a specific problem, thus forming four teams of five-six people thereby taking into account a diversity in background, gender and geographical spread (regarding the host institution). In the application form you are requested to provide relevant literature and documentation, so that the teams can prepare and start the workshop with a reasonable degree of background knowledge

Overall workshop programme 

The programme starts on Monday morning with a plenary introduction of the four R&D problems by representatives of the companies. During the workshop week, small teams of scientists work on the problems, supported by the company representatives. Each team will concentrate on the case assigned to them although input from other teams is stimulated amongst others via the plenary mid-term presentations. Scientists from industry and academia actively participate during the week, providing the team with relevant input, and ensuring that proposed solutions remain realistic and feasible. In this way significant progress towards a practical solution or solutions for each R&D problem is ensured. On the last day of the workshop (Friday), the teams will present and discuss their solutions in a plenary session.

Important dates

30 April Deadline submission R&D problems

14 May Selection of four R&D problems

24 May Publication of cases and call for participation

10 September Registration application closed

29 September Selection of ~20-24 participants completed

8-12 November Life Sciences with Industry 2021 workshop

Costs and presence 

The workshop is funded by NWO Science and NWO Applied and Engineering Sciences, and Lorentz Center. However, to cover all expenses of the workshop a nominal contribution is requested from the participating companies.

  • Companies with more than 50 employees: € 2,750 (excl. VAT)
  • Companies with less than 50 employees and non-profit organisations: € 1,000 (excl. VAT)

Please note, that if your case is selected and you have confirmed your participation to the workshop by email, you can no longer withdraw and will have to be present during the workshop to guide the young investigators. In addition, with the confirmation you will also have committed to fulfill the financial obligations.

Hotel costs of representatives from industry and possible other in-kind contributions are not included in this financial contribution. Participating companies are expected that at least one of their employees is available at least 3 days during the workshop week (preferably Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and can be contacted by the participants during the whole week (e.g. phone or Skype).

Confidentiality and Intellectual property 

The main purpose of the workshop is the exchange of knowledge between industry and academia and generated results are intended to be public. To ensure a free flow of information, all participants must sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to enable information protection. Therefore you will have to ensure that your company agrees with the NDA (page 5 and 6). Please do contact the organisers if you have any questions or remarks regarding the NDA.

Previous editions

Both large industry and SMEs have benefited from these workshops. Previous editions of the Life Sciences with Industry workshop have resulted in creative and innovative solutions for challenging R&D problems. Companies that joined us were Philips, DSM, Keygene, Bejo Zaden, Heineken, Nutricia Research, Danone, Unilever, Syngenta, Pam Gene International, Amsterdam Scientific Instruments, Corbion, FEI Electron Optics, NXP Semiconductors, Bioceros, Solynta, VITO, Shell, Ausnutria and BaseClear.
In 2019, the multidisciplinary teams have worked on the following challenging problems:

  • The search for new enzymes for sustainable use of industrial waste streams – DSM
  • Improving biodegradation assessment of chemicals for a greener future– Shell
  • Interactive app for maternal and offspring health – Ausnutria BV
  • Potato CRISP(R)s – Solynta

The above mentioned information and an impression of the Life Sciences with Industry Workshop 2019 can be found at:

  • Life Sciences with Industry workshop experiences | NWO
  • Life Sciences with Industry workshop | NWO

Organisation committee

The workshop is organised by the following persons and institutions. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Format proposals workshop 'Life sciences and Industry'

The deadline for submitting proposals is April 30, 2021.

More information?

Did you know? Our network of Leiden female beta scientists hosts regular meet-ups: RISE