A Day To Remember
Biotechnologists from Scotland and beyond gather each year to network and discuss all things fermentation at the annual Scottish Fermentation Network (SFN) event. The theme of this year’s event was “Sustainable Bio-based Chemicals Production- Towards a Fossil Free Future” and I (Jess Atkinson-Production Associate at Green Bioactives) had the pleasure to attend alongside Dr Samuel Casasola-Zamora (Production Lead). For the first time ever, this year's event was jointly organised by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centres (IBioIC’s) SFN.
The day started in true sustainable thinking fashion as I made the journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow on the train. Whilst at Waverley station, I bumped into some people also travelling to the SFN and so the networking began before the event even started! I arrived in Glasgow with time to spare and decided to have a whistlestop tour around the Gallery Of Modern Art (GOMA).
Innovative Insights: Dr. Joanna Sadler's Talk
Dr. Joanna Sadler of the University of Edinburgh took to the stage in the first session, unraveling the potential of bacteria in upcycling plastic waste. Two sponsors, GPE Scientific Ltd and JULABO UK Ltd also completed a sponsor display before breaking for lunch.
Emerging Voices: Early Career Researchers
A unique addition to SFN events emerged in the second session – a series of talks from early career researchers. These PhD students not only showcased their work but also demonstrated how the SFN event is a networking event for all.
Industry Spotlight: GBL Takes Strides
After a brief intermission, the industry spotlight took centre stage in session three. Samuel seized the opportunity to showcase GBL's strides in sustainable bio-based chemical production. What struck me the most during this session was how unique GBL’s plant cell culture technology truly is. Other industry speakers hailed from Ingenza, Colorfix, NCIMB and MiAlgae with a sponsor address from Broadley James sandwiched between talks.
Culminating in Cheers: The Brewery Experience
No SFN event is complete without a brewery visit! The day concluded with a guided beer tasting at WEST brewery, accompanied by delightful treats. My personal highlight was the blood orange Radler, a flavour experience with a surprise origin story: lemon soda drink!
Reflecting on Collaboration: Shaping a Sustainable Future
As someone who is in the early stages of their career, it was incredibly useful for me to network with biotechnologists at the same career stage, and, also with experienced biotechnologists. Some things I took away from the SFN event are a greater understanding of the scope of the biotechnology industry in Scotland. As well as a clear view of what a future career in biotechnology would entail.
The biotechnology sector in both academia and industry thrives with innovation, and SFN serves as a catalyst for collaboration, underlining the potential when we learn from each other towards the shared goal of a sustainable future.
I came away from the day feeling energised by the curiosity, collaboration and shared vision for a brighter, sustainable future. The experience at the SFN event reinforced the significance of networking and attending such gatherings as crucial elements in my professional development, and is something I would highly recommend to my peers.