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BIO Academy – the largest practical education programme in Polish biotechnology

Polpharma Biologics has inaugurated the first BIO Academy – the largest practical education programme in the Polish biotechnology sector. Designed to educate and improve the qualifications of current and future company employees, the programme will make it possible to transfer specialist know-how and new competences necessary to develop this young sector in Poland. Within the next 6 years, ca. 600 specialists will graduate from BIO Academy.  

Biotechnology is one of the strategic sectors of the Polish economy and as such, it has been included in the Strategy for Responsible Development. To foster the development of this innovative area, Poland needs investments in infrastructure and drug development, where Polpharma’s contribution will amount to a total of PLN 2 billion. But more than anything, Poland needs qualified human resources equipped with the right knowledge and practical skills. BIO Academy is a way to meet this urgent need.

Focus on practise

BIO Academy is Polpharma’s unique initiative and the largest programme of this type in Poland, supplementing academic knowledge with practical know-how related to working at a biopharmaceutical company, both in the laboratory and in the manufacturing environment.

“Our project is intended to drive the continuous development of current and future Polpharma employees. Thanks to BIO Academy, they will have access to world-class experts and resources, which will allow them to put their knowledge into practice and to contribute to the development of the medical biotechnology sector in Poland,” says Piotr Zień, Research and Technical Development Director at Polpharma Biologics and BIO Academy Director.

Knowledge sharing

A total of 46 people will be enrolled in the first BIO Academy. During the 15-week course, participants will acquire new skills, using dedicated tools prepared by experienced Polpharma Biologics experts. The facilitators will share their knowledge during lectures and practical classes held in laboratories, as well as in the form of e-learning courses, video materials and individual tutorials. During the next 6 years, Polpharma Biologics is planning to train up to 600 people.

Programme participants will soon gain new knowledge in a purpose-built training and research biotechnological laboratory, which will open in early 2019 at the Polfa Warszawa plant in Karolkowa Street. The investment in the training facilities, including the equipment, exceeded PLN 10 million. The lab will make it possible to observe and analyse processes on a smaller scale, using specialist devices and technical resources. Participation in real biotechnological processes will help programme participants to effectively develop their practical skills while learning the ropes of working in the new biologics production plant in Duchnice, set to open in 2020.

Between science and business

It is not the first time that Polpharma is putting emphasis on practical training. For several years now, Polpharma Biologics has been running the Career Lab, a project which enables talented graduates of universities, as well as general and technical secondary schools, to complete year-long internships. A new study programme, Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Industry, was launched in 2017, as part of a partnership between Polpharma and the Gdansk Medical University (GUMed). This course, unique on a national scale, is based on a practical profile and dual learning, combining theoretical education with industrial work experience. Another token of the ever closer relationship between business and science is Polpharma’s and GUMed’s joint participation in the implementation-oriented PhD system, recently introduced by the Ministry of Science, where the company and the university will jointly run six research projects, including two in the medical biotechnology area. Dual high school education programme for laboratory technicians, which has been run for the last 3 years in cooperation with Technical Secondary School No. 1 in Starogard, is another example of Polpharma’s involvement in the development of human resources.