Europe4Researchers - Newsletter
Issue 2 - April 2009
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Accelerate your career at BCF Event

On May 28th 2009 the fifth edition of BCF Event will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. BCF Event (short for Bio Career Event, Chemistry Career Event and Food Career Event) is the largest career fair in the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) for highly educated professionals (BSc level and higher) focusing on the sectors Life Sciences, Chemistry, Food & Pharma.

During BCF Event about 2 500 participants get to meet approximately 100 employers in the sector. The event consists of an interactive career fair with booths from the different organisations and a career corner in which you can get career coaching, have your CV checked and meet several networking associations such as YEBN. Furthermore, there is a programme of presentations and workshops about a.o. networking, how to present yourself, job searching and starting your own company.

But what makes this career fair so very different from other career fairs? Niels Wheeler, Project Manager of BCF Event, explains: "At most career fairs you can only meet recruiters that are trying to sell their company. But scientists don't fall for that, they speak a different language. At BCF Event you can actually meet the scientists working for the companies, so you can really learn what it's like to work at the company, how the atmosphere there is and what kind of day-to-day tasks you will be doing if you work there."

This difference between what scientists want to know and the information they get on a normal career fair, is exactly the reason why the career fair was organized for the first time five years ago. Haifen Hu, initiator of BCF Event, explains: "When I studied Biotechnology, I noticed that it was difficult to get information on the job market. I knew the multinationals and received enough information on PhD-positions, but that was it. I visited the National Career Fair, but this was too broad. The people I spoke to there weren't scientists."

There was immediate enthusiasm about the idea of setting up a separate career event for Life Sciences in which personal contact would be paramount. Haifen Hu: "For the first Bio Career Event we expected 400 visitors, but there were over 900." It is clear that the concept is highly appreciated. In four years time the event nearly tripled in both its number of employers and its number of visitors.

BCF Event is an international career fair. Not just because the spoken language at the fair is English, but because there are many international visitors (40 different nationalities last year) and many multinational employers.

What makes the career fair even more international, is the International Talent Programme for Life Sciences & Health which is held form 25 - 29 May. Haifen Hu: "50 high potentials are selected for a royal treatment in which they get to visit several Life Sciences hot spots in The Netherlands and meet many renowned research institutes and companies. And the best part is, they don't have to pay anything. They even get a travel bursary." These talents will also visit BCF Event on the May 28th.

Unfortunately, registration for the programme is already closed, so you cannot participate this year. But keep an eye on our website to see when registration for the International Talent Programme for 2010 starts.

But why The Netherlands?

Because The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, the different companies, research institutes, universities and academic medical centres are all very close. This makes cooperation very easy. The way universities, institutes and companies cooperate in The Netherlands is unique, because even competitors will get together to discuss and solve their collective problems. This allows scientists to work together in teams consisting of both industry and academia. This way you get access to a huge wealth in knowledge and build a strong network.

Another reason why The Netherlands is a good place for international talent to further their career, is that English is the spoken language in all research intensive companies and universities and that the general population also has a good command of English, so its easy to get around, even if you don't speak the language.


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