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S o, you fancy a career in the biotechnology industry but aren't sure how to get started? Because networking can be key to finding opportunities in many career areas, we offer some off- and on-site resources to help you kick-start your biotech career.

Who to Network With

Where to Network

How to Network

Who to Network With

Maybe it's because biotechnology is still a relatively new branch of science, but young biotechnologists seem to be particularly proactive when it comes to networking. Indeed, Next Wave has written about two networking organisations started by young scientists. The Young European Biotech Network already involves students from France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy and is looking for more members across Europe. Meanwhile, Club Biotech, which was founded in Vienna, is hoping to expand its reach throughout Austria.

As well as these grassroots initiatives, Europe has two well-established biotech organisations that count companies and national biotech associations--or individual scientists--among their members.

Representing industry, EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, has 40 companies and 18 national bioindustry associations as members. You can find out whether your country's association is a member--and how to find it-- here.

The European Federation of Biotechnology ( EFB), meanwhile, is a membership organisation of biotech scientists. Personal EFB membership is free--and you can sign up on the Web. Institutional members include companies and national bioindustry associations (a slightly different group to EuropaBio's) as well as learned societies and universities--so you should be able to find a gold mind of networking leads here.

It's definitely worth contacting your national association to find out how you can get involved. The UK's BioIndustry Association, for example, has a Young BiA section, which holds networking events that often involve free champagne. ...

Biotechnology is one of the Irish government's two priority areas, so it's no surprise to discover www.biotechnologyireland.com--a news, information, and jobs site which fits hand-in-glove with a face-to-face networking organisation BioConnect Ireland.

Where to Network

Check out the Events Calendar on the European Federation of Biotechnology Web site for a host of possibilities, including the 11th biennial European Congress on Biotechnology, which, this year, will be held in Basel, Switzerland, in August.

Meanwhile there's just time to get to Finland's first major biotechnology conference, Biotech Helsinki 03. Each day of the meeting, from 24 to 26 March, will feature a recruitment event.

How to Network

Given that networking is such a crucial career tool, it's not surprising that Next Wave--and in particular our international columnists--have plenty to say on the subject. If you're a networking novice, you might want to check out what Tooling Up's Peter Fiske has to say by way of introduction.

Meanwhile, knowing what the term means and working out a strategy for your own networking activities are two different things, which is where Dave Jensen's step-by-step protocol comes in (read part 1, and part 2).

And for those of you who think you're already pretty switched on about this whole networking business, you might want to smarten up your technique with Peter Fiske's advanced networking tips.

Still not convinced it's worth all the effort? Read how the Netherlands Transitions columnist Stijn Oomes found the right job with the help of a well-honed network.