NIBRT is a world-class institute that provides training and research solutions for the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. NIBRT’s mission is to help the growth and development of the biopharma manufacturing industry by providing cutting edge training and research solutions. The Institute is based on an innovative collaboration between Industry, Government and Academia and opened its world class facility in 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. The facility was primarily funded by the Government of Ireland through Ireland's inward investment promotion agency, IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Agency), which is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland. NIBRT offers a training and research experience not previously possible anywhere in the world. We caught up with Bioprocess Training Technician, Filipe Horst, to learn more about his experience relocating to Ireland to begin a career in Biopharma here.
Bioprocess Training Technician
My name is Filipe and I am originally from Brazil but I am also Italian. I decided to move to Europe about a year ago. Originally, I went to Italy for a few months to get my citizenship. After that, I decided to move to Ireland because it has such a big hub in the Biopharma industry. I started to look for a role in a company that was related to my field and that’s when I started working with Fastnet. They helped me to find the role with NIBRT and prepared me really well for the interview and now I am glad to be working here.
It has been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid. I didn’t know if I would like to be a Doctor or a Scientist, I just knew I wanted the blend of Biology and Chemistry. I get to work on that mix in the Biopharma industry. I like it because I get to learn every day and the things that I can achieve keep changing and growing. I get to help other people while doing this, which is great.
Tell us about your career before moving to Ireland?
Back in Brazil I was working as a lab technician when I was in University. I was not working in Biopharma, but was studying Biology and Chemistry while I was doing it. We used similar techniques and the theory was the same as here, but it was much more manual and small scale. In Ireland things are much more high tech than where I was working in Brazil so that was the biggest difference.
At the beginning I found it quite difficult. I had to budget and plan a lot of things before going to Italy and getting my citizenship. Once I was in Europe things became a lot easier. Once I got my Italian citizenship I was able to work in Ireland so that made the move much easier. I started looking for jobs in my field as soon as I got to Ireland and after about 3 months I was offered the role with NIBRT.
I would advise them to do a lot of research before deciding to make the move to Ireland. If you can prepare as much as possible in advance, that will make the move much easier. You should look into jobs in your field and see if Ireland has the right opportunities for you. For me, Ireland made sense because it is such a big player in my field so I knew that there would be opportunities for me.
I decided to take the role with NIBRT because it related to the things I love the most – the blend of Chemistry and Biology. It is a really important role and I am involved with a lot of preparation for the training team so I am learning every single day here which helps a lot in my professional development.
As a lab technician, I support the training team in setting up and preparing for training groups coming in. I am preparing cell culture a week before the training takes place and constantly do check ups on the cells to make sure they are still viable when the training group comes in. I also do a lot of filtration so get to work on chromatography. NIBRT delivers practical training in a lot of areas so I get to learn more about these when I am helping with the preparation. I write up equipment SOPs to give people a step by step guide on how to use it.
I think I have grown a lot since joining the team at NIBRT. It is the biggest jump I have made in my career. People that work at NIBRT are really open minded. My boss and colleagues always give me opportunities. They are patient, great communicators and try to understand me. People in Ireland have great social skills which helps me to learn and grow with them.
Absolutely. I would recommend it to anyone who has a background or interest in pharma. It’s a great place to work and you can learn so much. You can also pass on a lot of knowledge to others so if that is something you are interested in then NIBRT would be a good option for you.
If you are not happy in your career I would say it is important to look at what is out there and what you are interested in. Maybe start by doing a course to see if you like the subject because this will also help you to get a job in that area. Then I would say do some research into the places and companies that are big players in that field. If relocating is something you want to do, look into locations that have most opportunities as this will give you a better chance of finding a new job.
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