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RisingWISE was a fantastic experience for me, and I recommend the course to anyone who is keen to broaden their horizon, meet people with different research/business backgrounds and hear about opportunities beyond academia.

Unlike many other programmes for postdocs, RisingWISE is not centred on academic achievements. It rather provides a collaborative and friendly environment where participants are encouraged to think about ‘their dreams’ and explore ways of achieving them. Although not directly related to my work at Cambridge, I had wanted to do community outreach workshops in Africa for a long time but had not had the relevant contacts. Encouraged by the talk on ‘Pathways to Impact’, RisingWISE was the perfect place to share this idea. In the end, two of us teamed up, established new collaborations with the University of Nairobi and a small business in rural Kenya and held an initial workshop on sustainability. This has opened the door to new research projects with UoN and a couple of successful grant applications. Having explored leadership and networking skills at RisingWISE has certainly helped me deal with the challenges of the projects and has given me confidence to lead them.

RisingWISE also hosts talks by exceptional female entrepreneurs and business leaders. I found it fascinating to hear their life stories, which shifted my perspective towards working in the private sector. Although it was beyond imagination prior to RisingWISE, having listened and spoken to young entrepreneurs stimulated my interest in joining a start-up. Over the last two years, I have been following the healthcare start-up scene and have recently joined a biotech and healthcare start-up. I mainly work in R&D but as we are a small team, I am exposed to all aspects of the business, including financing, marketing, competitor analysis… Having this high-level overview over a project is what I enjoy most (rather than being in the lab working on one particular aspect) and it was thanks to RisingWISE I understood that start-ups can provide this opportunity. 

Being run entirely by women for women makes RisingWISE an unique programme and I can only recommend this course.

Katharina Kessler

R&D Scientist, Nemysis Ltd.