New FIMMPOD initiative: promoting industry-academia partnerships with joint postdoc positions

The first FIMM-Bayer joint postdoctoral researcher has been recruited as part of the FIMMPOD professional development programme activities. Dr. Prson Gautam will start in this position 1.9.2018.

FIMM is committed to promoting industry-academia partnerships. ​Thanks to our long-term efforts and relationship building, the magnitude of industrial collaboration projects and their impact on FIMM funding have been steadily growing.

As part of the research training activities at FIMM, FIMMPOD, a professional development programme for the community of postdoctoral and senior researchers and coordinators, has been developed. The first concrete programme of its kind in Finland, FIMMPOD aims to enhance research experiences and career opportunities, supporting the community as well as the group leaders and scientific advancement at the institute.

One of the newest initiatives of the programme has now seen the light of the day with the first FIMM-Bayer joint postdoctoral researcher being recruited. This FIMMPOD initiative aims to drive forward translational research bringing together expertise in molecular medicine and clinical trials and to enhance the career development of talented postdoctoral researchers.

The joint postdoctoral position is building on Bayer’s expertise in clinical trials, FIMM’s experience in industry-academic collaborations and research training, and the existing research collaborations in cancer therapeutics.

We are confident that the joint position will solidify and expand existing research interactions between FIMM and Bayer and were positively surprised by the number of outstanding candidates. This clearly shows that there is a lot of interest towards positions that can help with a later career transition from academia to industry. 

- Dr. Heidi Virtanen, FIMMPOD coordinator

From the approximately 50 applications, six candidates were shortlisted. Among these excellent applicants, Dr. Prson Gautam stood out thanks to his international research experience on a very relevant field and insights on project management and team leading.

Prson completed his masters in Applied Biotechnology 2011 from Uppsala University, Sweden. The Nordplus exchange program brought him to Finland and he did his PhD study in the group of FIMM-EMBL Group Leader, Professor Krister Wennerberg during the years 2013 - 2017.  In his thesis study, Prson focused on drug sensitivities based functional study of triple negative breast cancer cell lines to identify therapeutic strategies against the disease. 

I am very excited about this opportunity! This position not only allows me to pursue my research interest, but also acquaints me with the industrial work environment. Working in translational research at FIMM and being part of clinical trial study group in Bayer, I believe that this position will enrich my understanding of translational research from the beginning to the end.

- Dr.Prson Gautam, FIMM-Bayer postdoctoral researcher

Within FIMM, Prson will perform academic research at the Computational Systems Medicine Group led by Professor Tero Aittokallio. Within Bayer, he will work as a Study Manager trainee and will become familiar with clinical studies, project management and leadership.

We hope that this joint position is only the first of many that will follow in the upcoming years and aim to start negotiating with other companies in near future.

- Dr. Heidi Virtanen, FIMMPOD coordinator