Campus Vienna Biocenter – Department of Biotechnology: from Vienna to Reykjavik, Gothenburg, Antwerp, Berlin, London...

(PresseBox) ( Vienna, )
Universities from five European countries have signed student exchange agreements with the Department of Biotechnology of the University of Applied Sciences "fh-campus wien" in Vienna. Among them is the renowned King's College London, which has made this possible via a special arrangement.

Five universities have simultaneously signed co-operation agreements with the Department of Biotechnology of the University of Applied Sciences "fh-campus wien" in Vienna. This agreement allows the 55 students of Biotechnology the possibility to undertake research projects for their diploma thesis in Iceland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. This means that the Austrian students can carry out up to 40 weeks of research in the life sciences as well as gaining career-relevant experience. The agreements are supported by the ERASMUS and LEONARDO DA VINCI programs of the European Union, which are currently supplemented with additional Austrian funding.

With these agreements the Dept. of Biotechnology is reacting to the increasing interest in international work-experience that its students are showing. Already this year 20% of the students have indicated interest in researching abroad. It is even the case that four students are prepared to self-finance their international stay – since they are going to universities where no co-operation exists at present.

For Prof. Bea Kuen-Krismer (Deputy Head of Dept. of Biotechnology) the present agreements are a milestone on the way to the European positioning of the Degree Program: "Biotechnology is a global matter. Those who want to succeed need international contacts. We can now offer these to our students along with the necessary financial support. Henceforth our students have the chance to experience international scientific life in the two leading European biotech countries - the United Kingdom and Germany - and within the dynamic research scenes of Belgium, Sweden and Iceland."

The "fh-campus wien" is particularly pleased with the international recognition of its biotechnology curriculum, which arose during the co-operation process. For example, an Erasmus contract with King's College London allowing students from the Austrian university to study there was arranged via the initiative of Professor J.D. Cooper of the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. A privilege usually reserved for students from 50 of the leading educational facilities worldwide.

Furthermore, representatives of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Gothenburg have shown interest in allowing students from Sweden to participate in the biotechnology curriculum of the "fh-campus wien" in Vienna. Professor Morten Grøtli of the Department of Chemistry says: "We have seen how practically-oriented the biotechnology teaching is and how practically experienced the students from Vienna are. Those are qualities that we would very much like to teach our Swedish students. Therefore we are planning a supplementary co-operation to the current agreement which will allow students from Sweden to study at the Dept. of Biotechnology in Vienna."

For Prof. Kuen-Krismer this international resonance is an endorsement of the past efforts that the Dept. of Biotechnology has made with respect to internationalisation. However, it will intensify further: "Our next goal is to allow lecturers from other countries to teach in our department. In this way, students, who do not want to or are unable to go abroad will also have access to the international Biotech network."

Supported by

Prof. Bea Kuen-Krismer
Deputy Head - Dept. of Biotechnology
University of Applied Sciences "fh-campus wien"
M +43 / 699 / 88 44 95 56

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Vienna, 4th July 2006
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