Practice lab for training professionals and students
The Biotech Training Facility (BTF) on the Leiden Bio Science Park is now officially open. Professionals and students can practise their skills and learn new competences in the field of life sciences in this fully equipped training centre with laboratories, clean rooms and technical areas.
Unique in the world
The practice lab on the Bio Science Park is unique in the world, apart from a similar lab in Ireland, and it operates in line with the highest quality standards typical of the pharmaceutical industry. The opening ceremony was performed on 8 February by representatives of the government, the financial sector, the knowledge sector and the business sector, including Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs, Gerrit Zalm of ABN AMRO, Leiden mayor Henri Lenferink, Willem te Beest, Vice-President of Leiden University, and Harry Flore, Chairman of the Association of Businesses on the Bio Science Park (BSP).
The courses offered at the BTF will focus on the production of medicines and medical-technological devices such as stents, small tubes that are used to keep blood vessels from collapsing. Much of the training will focus on learning to work in clean rooms, where the number of micro-organisms and dust particles has to be kept to a minimum. Staff and students at the centre work within the strict demands that apply in a laboratory environment. They have to learn not only how to work under strict sterile conditions, but also how to systematically document their work.
The Biotech Training Facility in the BSP is the first training centre in the bio and pharmaceutical industry in the Netherlands. Staff and students learn how to apply Good Manufacturing Practice as this applied in the pharmaceutical industry. The BTF will train production workers in the biotechnical industry and hospital pharmacists, along with installation technicians and inspection workers. Students of such programmes as Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences or Medicine will receive part of their training in the BTF.
Minister Kamp was particularly impressed with the collaboration between the different parties that led to the establishment of the BTF. 'It is a good example of the kind of network that we need today and will need in the future if the Netherlands wants to continue to play a leading role technologically and economically.'
The Biotech Training Facility has already signed contracts with a number of applicants from the pharmaceutical industry who want to have their staff trained without having to use their own labs, that are both expensive and generally in use for other purposes.
(Photography: Petra van Aken)