The second industry-academia networking event took place from 22 to 26 June 2020. The situation regarding COVID-19 has necessitated the STACCATO network experience to be transitioned from an in person to an online event. This had the biggest impact on the social activities that would have normally taken place after the lectures. Nevertheless, Brian and Kelly from KTH were able to organise a fun social programme for their fellow ESRs. 

Day 1 - Network meeting

The first day of the even started out with a project update and gave the ESRs the chance to rehearse their project presentations for the upcoming REA check meeting. After the presentations, the Management Support Team (MST) meeting was held, where the following points were covered:

  • Coordination, managemnet matters
  • Deliverables
  • Check meeting
  • Training activities and upcoming meetings
  • STACCATO Network supports
  • 2020 Event planning
  • Secondments

Once the organisational and management objectives were covered, the ESRs had the chance to reconnect over Zoom. For many, this was the first time seeing each other since the last network experience in November 2019. During the social event, the ESRs thought it would be good to have more of these online get togethers to further strengthen our network.

Day 2 - REA check meeting

The second day was the day of the check meeting with the REA Project Officer. It was also the longest day of the week, starting at 09:30 and lasting till 18:30 but the schedule allowed for enough breaks so that the day wasn’t overwhelming. During the check meeting, the REA Project Officer reminded the ESRs off their rights and more critically, the ESRs got a chance to present themselves and their projects. The meeting was very positive and finished with an introduction to Matlab for the ESRs.

Day 3 - Bioprocessing and large-scale manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals

This was the first full day of the course part of the industry-academia network experienced oranised by the Advanced BioProduction by Continuous Porcessing (AdBIOPRO) group of KTH. The lectures were focused on bioprocessing and the large-scale manufacturing of biopharmacueticals. There was also a focus on how to present scientific research that was ver informative. The main part of the several days long course was on the in silico optimisation of an industrial antibody production process. This advanced simulation was developed by AdBIOPRO and allowed the course participants to see the effect of media formulation and different process parameters such as temperatuere, pH, etc. on the cultivation and antibody tire. This gave a unique insight into the cultivation process because it made it possible to follow the concentration of amino acids througut the process. 

After the lectures were finished, one of the ESRs had organised a pub quiz that all the others were able to play online.

Day 4 - Bioprocessing aspects of ATMPs

On day four, the focus was on the bioprocessing aspects of advanced therpay medicinal products (ATMPs). There were lectures on how through advanced control of bioreactors the quality and yield of NK cells can be improved over the more traditional T-flask cultivation. There were also lectures on the use of oncolytic viruses in immune oncology and the cultivation of pluripotent stem cells on 3D scaffodls made from spider silk.

Day 5 - Final lectures

The last day of the course had a very interesting introduction to intellectual porperty and how the different types of IP can be used by individuals and companies. The last day also marked the end of the simulation course where all the participants were able to compare the results they obtained and discuss the different strategies they used to optimize the process. This was very enlightening as it showed what methods are more effective and how through intelligent experimental design a process can be optimised in less experiemental effort. 

As this was the last day of the course and the last time the ESRs would see eacht other, for a couple of weeks at least, an online game night was organised with several liberations.