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Due to the rapidly growing world population, there is an increasing demand for food. The answer to the world food problem is in the cultivation of crops with higher yields, improved disease resistance and resistance to adverse climatic conditions. Research in green molecular life sciences has been given an enormous boost by recent technological developments, creating unprecedented opportunities in the field of plant breeding. Because of this, the green industry needs to find many new employees in the coming years that possess knowledge of these new technologies and their applications. This demand for new employees, coupled with the increasing problems related to the default trainee set-up of master-apprentice at the university, has led to the concept of the Green Student Lab.
The Green Student Lab (GSL) is a new training environment where students together can carry out an independent internship, primarily on the basis of topics from business, with high level supervision and specific expertise support from the university. The Green Student Lab combines the benefits of an academic environment as well as a business-oriented subject and approach. So in this way "the best of both worlds" are interconnected, creating a new and challenging 'real-life' study environment for ambitious students.
Students. The number of students simultaneously in the Lab at any one time will be between 10-12 maximum. These can be master's students, university undergrads, and applied-university students (HBO). Students can enroll at any time, the length of the internships is at least 3 months and lasts as long as the student wishes.
Selection. Admission to the Green Student Lab will be based on the students' background and motivation. Current students will also be involved in the selection of new students. In this way new students learn to apply as well to present themselves and current students will learn how selection procedures from the perspective of "the other side of the table."
Education. There is a dedicated supervisor for the GSL that supervises the students’ projects on a high level. Whenever the projects call for specific knowledge various UvA experts will be consulted. In this way sufficient dedicated supervision is ensured for every student. In addition to the academic internship, extra courses are offered that are not part of any standard academic life science curriculum. These courses will focus on additional skills or company related information. Examples of these courses include: job interview training, planning and time management, presentation, professional self-awareness and the value of research. An internship in the Green Student Lab will be assessed similarly as a conventional academic internship.
Sensitive information and intellectual property. For each project it will be examined how to deal with potentially sensitive information. In consultation with the company concerned, this will be an important point of attention. In addition, there will be an agreement on the ownership of the results as well as the intellectual property for each project. It is not the intention that the Green Student Lab will generate IP for the university.
Efforts of participating companies
Involvement of companies is one of the key elements for the success of the Green Student Lab. Here are the elements in which the efforts of a participating company are required.
- Setting up projects (Providing global project ideas and defining specific project targets)
- Interaction between students and the company (Setting up contact moments for students one every 1-2 months)
- Active supervision (Providing a dedicated contact at the company who can also give the students a taste of how the company operates)
- Experimental contribution (Providing samples)