First year PhD students find out what it looks like to start a science company


This week we welcomed a cohort of first year PhD candidates from the Synthetic Biology Centre for Doctoral Training (SynBio CDT) down to Unit DX, Bristol’s Scientific Incubator, for an introduction to the scientific innovation ecosystem in Bristol.


The SynBio CDT is a BBSRC and EPSRC funded doctoral training program that combines the fundamental understanding of biological systems with the principles of engineering, so as to create the next generation of industrial and academic leaders in the nascent field of Synthetic Biology.  With PhD candidates supported by the multi-disciplinary expertise from Universities of Oxford, Bristol and Warwick, the SynBio CDT provides training that covers biomimetic systems, engineered microbial communities and multicellular organisms as well as industrial and entrepreneurial training.

We were excited to host students during their induction week to showcase the strength of Bristol’s entrepreneurial activity in synthetic biology; a strength supported by the close relationship between BrisSynBio, a world leading biodesign institute, and Unit DX, a start up itself, looking to support entrepreneurial scientists.

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During the morning, students heard talks from Dr Ben Miles on how the scientific innovation ecosystem in Bristol has developed and the excitement of following an entrepreneurial pathway following their PhD.  We also heard from Dr Andy Chapman, CSO of Carbometrics, about his involvement in the technology development and eventual sale of Ziylo Ltd to Novo Nordisk.  Finally, Frederic Garzoni the Director and Co-founder of Imophoron Ltd, talked about how he is working to get a company off the ground and what life feels like as an entrepreneur starting a new company.

Over the course of their introductory week, the cohort had spent time in teams developing ideas for synthetic biology companies. During the afternoon, Dr Sarah Jelbert of Spin Up Science led a workshop to help the teams quantify their market opportunity, better understand their customers, and prepare elevator pitches.  We finished the day with teams pitching to the group as practice for an event later in the week.

Thanks to the SynBio CDT for joining us down at Unit DX! Good luck with your PhDs and come back and visit soon!

Interested in joining us for an introduction to entrepreneurship? Get in touch!

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