Thursday, 13 September 2018

Global Biotech Revolution: GapSummit Leaders Of Tomorrow | Cambridge

As someone who spends good chunk of a day in the lab running gels and looking at tiny things in fancy microscopes, I am one of those biomedical/life science graduate students who justifies spending weekends in the lab by saying that my research will one day help advance human health (Joke! I am struggling to get that damn marker to write on my tubes!). Anyway, one good lesson I learned during that time is what you know matters less than who you know in the professional circle (to some extent).

Most of the graduate students spend a good five to six years doing amazing research and learning cutting-edge techniques. Unfortunately, in this world, it’s not the best ideas but the ideas that have the best reach which wins. Presenting their work, knowing the potential of their respective fields go a long way in helping one advance their career. This is where all those conferences, interdisciplinary meets, and other scientific events come into the picture. I was lucky enough to be selected for one such conference called GapSummit which turned out to be one of the best experiences I have ever had.

GapSummit is the Global Biotech Revolution’s flagship program. One of the biggest biotech conferences in the world conducted annually. It is an intergenerational leadership development conference that brought together biotech leaders from all over the world to engage with students like me. It is aptly named as they discuss the major gaps in the biotech and pharma field. The summit was joined by phenomenal speakers like Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific officer of Johnsons and Johnsons, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon limited, Dr.Yusuf Hamied of Cipla, representatives from WHO and United Nations. Apart from the talks, there were interactive panels conducted on the gaps in the industry ranging from drug affordability, innovation to sustainable energy. I learned a lot about the plateau phase of R&D pipelines, the struggle to get a generic drug in developing countries, the public policy aspect of bringing out a healthcare reform through dinner conversations and casual chats.

GapSummit did indeed provide me a better picture of the biotech and pharma space which I have learned is complicated with multiple players and unpredictable market. However, I learned from the digital healthcare panel experts that AI and other high-end computational tools will be a major game changer in the future.

The part I enjoyed and learned the most was the Voices of tomorrow competition where we all worked for three months in groups on an idea that addressed one of the gaps. Coming from a purely scientific background, getting the first-hand experience in executing an idea in the real world was an exhilarating experience. Although we didn’t make it to the finals, we had fun writing the business proposal which I have never done in my life!!

Since I had such an amazing time at the Summit I thought I could share some of my pre-conference hacks which might be helpful for you for the GapSummit 2019. I will be providing more details about the summit at the end.

Here are my two cents worth!


Spend a good amount of time writing the motivational essay. Remember, this is a fully sponsored conference, they take the application stuff seriously. It really pays off to do some homework about the summit, the speakers and the main agenda.

The second round is a video interview with the core team of the GapSummit where they ask you in-depth questions about the application. Again! It really helps to prepare and succinctly talk about your achievements and future plans.

Like it or not, the world is not a fair place. That’s good and bad news. You might bump into the CEO of a startup who is looking for someone with your profile and might get hired on the spot. That is why it is extremely important to prepare for it. What do I mean by that? You need not read in detail about every single panelist or guest speakers but one you are interested in talking to, know their work in the back of your head. Read about their company, their published papers, know what they are looking for. I can’t emphasize this enough, nobody can just wing it.

GapSummit 2019:
Yay! This time it is in the United States. It is happening at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, between June 16th -20th. You can learn more about it here. If you have more questions about the summit, the logistics or if you want your institute to know about the event, you can contact me for an official invite.

Good luck with the application and hoping to see you guys at Gap Summit 2019!

Read another Article written by Anjana on TRAVEL+ACADEMICS: INTERNSHIP IN JAPAN

About The Author:

Anjana Sundarrajan is a true Tamilian who will not shut up about Chennai and curd rice. She is currently pursuing her final year of Masters in Biotechnology at UPenn in the US. She completed her B Pharm from Manipal University. She is passionate about research and innovation.

You can contact her on her Facebook or Linked In

Thank you for sharing your experience and tips with us. We hope you continue to support this blog and write for us in the future. We wish you all the best.

Six Scenic Road Trips You Must Take In India

Road Trips In India credits  Vikas Sawant Road trips are classic adventure travel. Depending on how long the trip is an...