PhD students visit Roche

The decisions faced by some of the PhD students at the SNI’s PhD school about what comes next are becoming increasingly pressing as their doctorates approach completion. In late November, 16 PhD students paid a visit to Roche Pharma AG in Basel to gain some insights into starting a career in the pharma industry. The visit included a lecture on molography by Dr. Christoph Fattinger illustrating how Roche employs nanotechnology in its research.

Dr. Volker Herdtweck of Roche Human Resources, who is in charge of contact with universities and prepared the program for the visit, advised the attendees to acquire industry experience before completing their PhD and to start networking early on. He then added that it is crucial to tailor applications to the advertised position and focus on key aspects. With the aim of giving candidates a clearer picture of the different fields of activity, Roche offers a careers blog in which employees in a wide range of positions share their personal impressions and experience.

Attendees also heard a first-hand account of work in pharma research from a post-doc and a trainee, who described how it differs from university work and highlighted the pros and cons of their temporary positions in the global pharma company. The two young researchers along with Volker Herdtweck then fielded questions from the PhD students during an informal lunch.

“The visit to Roche was a valuable experience. It gave us an idea of the potential opportunities on offer at Roche specifically and in the industry in general. We also received information which will help us make a decision about the next step in our career,” summed up Michael Gerspach.