The EU Lead Factory opens its doors again for young researchers from across Europe

Early Career Researcher Event in Lisbon, Portugal

The European Lead Factory acknowledges the need for open exchange between researchers with different professional background and puts a focus on the career development of young scientists. Therefore, the European Lead Factory invites young talented chemists working on enriching the Joint European Compound Library (JECL) at participating SMEs and academic institutes to a Learnings and Achievements meeting where they can discuss and get feed-back on their scientific work, interact with fellow researchers and liaise with representatives from participating industry and SME partners.

For the second consecutive time, nineteen external early career researchers were invited to participate, originating from eight countries all over Europe. One of them, the Italian Dr Claudia de Fusco, University of Cambridge, explained “My professor encouraged me to apply. I realized that it was a valuable opportunity to present my own work to an international audience, discuss my project with the EU Lead Factory experts from pharma, SME and academia and get to know other young researchers.”

Group picture Lisbon

During the 2-day meeting, over 80 participants enjoyed presentations and posters on chemical scaffold innovation and JECL library synthesis, complemented with talks given by Prof Huib Ovaa’s (Leiden University Medical Centre) and Dr Jag Heer (UCB) on the outcomes of screening the European Lead Factory compounds. Following the success of the previous meeting, an interactive workshop on chemical library validation was led by Prof Adam Nelson from the University of Leeds.

Finally, the jury announced the prizes for the best poster and presentations, kindly sponsored by Merck KGaA. The winners were: Dr Ian Strutt, Sygnature, for best presentation on Synthesis of Novel Tricyclic Cores from 3-Hydroxypyridine, Dr Guido Janssen, Leiden University Medical Centre, for best poster titled Cycloadditions as a Powerful Tool for Library Design and Generation and Denisa Hidasová, PhD student at Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences for best flash presentation on Aza-Michael Addition/Radical Reactions as a New Strategy for the Total Syntheses of (‒)-α-Kainic Acid and Natural β-Amino-α-hydroxy Acid Derivatives. Denisa’s win proved that practice makes perfect. She actually participated in the previous event, hatched a new library design idea and was excited to be selected again. “I really learnt so much at the last meeting, I listened to the EU Lead Factory experts’ advice and incorporated that in my research. It obviously paid off!”

Award Winners 2016 Lisbon
Award ceremony (from left to right): Dr. Dimitrios Tzalis (Taros Chemicals), Dr. Guido Janssen (Leiden University Medical Center), Dr. Ian Strutt (Sygnature), Denisa Hidasová (Czech Academy of Sciences), Dr. Dirk Finsinger (Merck KGaA).

 

Dr Dirk Finsiger, Merck KGaA, was enthusiastic “It was again a great meeting with highly motivated scientists sharing their research. I saw a lot of high quality compound library work and I am really keen to see these compounds in the Joint European Compound Library.”

The event continues the tradition of knowledge sharing and reciprocal learning first between consortium partners and now also stretching it to the larger scientific community. Dr Dimitrios Tzalis, European Lead Factory Head of Chemistry and CEO Taros Chemicals: “We want to share the experiences from this public-private partnership. I believe that this model with a close collaboration between SMEs and academia can serve as example for how researchers, in particular in an early stage of their career, can benefit from interactions, not only scientifically, but also to advance their career.”

Read also the Dr Mike Rawling’s testimonial on how his experience in the EU Lead Factory benefitted his career.