IN THE LIFE SCIENCES SECTOR, BIOTECHNOLOGY IS THE INDUSTRY WITH THE GREATEST POTENTIAL
In fact potential in the form of innovation potential. The industry is supported by both the political and the public sector and is present in many areas. After all, where would agriculture, medicine, environmental technology and even waste management be without biotechnology? The pharmaceutical and chemical industries are also dependent on biotechnological research and development. In Germany alone, 34,000 people work in this sector, in addition to approximately 31,000 people (2012 figures) who are involved in biotech research and teaching at universities and colleges. The sector even grew during the economic crisis. Many investments are being made in biotech, and start-ups are and will remain a major focus. Many new companies start up directly from the university – and this is also being promoted. In 2011 the public sector supported this industry with funding of 3.4 billion euros, with third-party financing of 1.6 billion euros still to be added. And since then the figures have not gone down – modern biotechnology is growing. There are jobs in biotechnology, and they are constantly on the increase.
BIOTECHNOLOGY DEGREE COURSES: 56 STUDY PROGRAMMES AT 36 UNIVERSITIES
Depending on the university, degree and specialisation, the course of study takes between three and seven semesters. Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are offered and the course of study can be completed full-time or part-time, but also as a sandwich or part-time course. 22 universities of applied sciences and 14 universities offer the course. So much for the numbers – they sound attractive.
In the course of the study the basic principles of biology are combined with their possible application in industry, medicine or agriculture. Budding biotechnologists study living organisms. The results of this research are then explored until a device or substance that can be used in industry is discovered. It is therefore an interdisciplinary course of study, with process engineering and computer science playing a role alongside biology and the other natural sciences. And there is a colour system. Red and white biotechnology and green biotechnology are already established. However, permanent developments and research are also constantly creating new areas of application, so that by now there is also talk of grey, brown and blue biotechnology.
RED BIOTECHNOLOGY DEALS WITH MEDICAL APPLICATIONS
What effects does biotech have on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases? This is probably where the greatest opportunities in the industry are to be expected, and this is also where most biotechnology jobs are to be found The red area deals, amongst other things, with the manipulation of cells, mostly animal cells, and their use in a genetically modified state. Drugs for the treatment of diabetes, for example, are produced in this way.
WHITE BIOTECHNOLOGY: THE CONNECTIONS WHICH EXIST IN THE INDUSTRY
Detergents and cleaning agents, chemicals of all kinds, even vitamin preparations are products that are industrially manufactured. They have to be researched, produced and used in a resource-saving way. And of course the environment must not suffer from the products themselves, nor from their production, use or disposal (i.e. degradation after use). How can this be ensured? This is exactly where the white sector of the biotech industry does its research.
GREEN BIOTECHNOLOGY PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN AGRICULTURE
One of the big questions of the biotech industry in this field is how genetics can enable the highest possible yields. The taste and size of agricultural products can be manipulated using biotechnological processes. But of course, there are also other issues that arise. Agricultural biotechnology has a rather negative reputation in Germany. A BMBF study showed that only about 4% of biotech companies actually operate in this field. This mistrust is not justified, however, because in the final analysis, plants that require less fertiliser and trees that extract toxins from the soil certainly benefit humanity – and in an environmentally friendly way.
LIFE SCIENCES AND FREELANCERS: HARDLY A CONTRADICTION WITH BIOTECH
From cell therapy specialists via experts on gene therapy to programmers and software developers who specialise in medical applications: biotech and freelancing are by no means mutually exclusive. But how do freelancers get contracts in this field? Advertisements such as “Please develop a new cancer drug” are rarely found on the usual job exchanges. There are in fact specialised job exchanges for freelancers in the life sciences, and there are also numerous biotech jobs to be found here.
Not all biotechnology experts are the same. There are different approaches to the profession, and each course offers different opportunities to specialise. Bioinformatics specialists serve completely different needs than bioelectronic engineers, for example. Nevertheless, they are also biotechnologists in a broader sense. In a narrower sense, the latter are of course primarily concerned with drug therapy. Accordingly it is therefore not at all easy to keep an overview of these many different interlocking disciplines.
BRINGING COMPANIES AND FREELANCERS TOGETHER
How does something like this work? After all, it is not easy to find the right project at exactly the right time. In other words: the more specialised the field, the more difficult match-making is. If this sounds almost like an old-fashioned marriage bureau where couples are carefully matched, this is not so far off the truth. In fact, the companies that are looking for biotechnologists have to be brought together with their future employees in some way or other. When K-Recruiting advertises its own service as a career boost, this is entirely justified.
Biotech is so strongly interdisciplinary that the job market is extremely confusing. At the same time, the requirements for each individual job, for each individual project are so specific that it makes sense to search across national borders, at least in the D-A-CH region, if not beyond. And this applies to companies as well as freelancers. Welcome to K-Recruiting. We find people who belong together. You too can find your ideal job in the biotechnology industry. .