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International student trio complete Science City placements

Three high-flying Newcastle University MSc students from all around the world have each completed four month Newcastle Work Experience (NWE) placements to help Newcastle Science City’s business development plans, and there are plans to invite more students to do something similar in the future.

Twenty six year old Emeka Chibuike from Nigeria, Lu Fangming, 22 from China and Sadaf Atarod, 22, of Dubai have been working on three science city themes, molecular engineering, energy and the environment and stem cells respectively.  They have researched possible new product and service opportunities in each area, the best route to market and the most productive way for NSC to support such new businesses.

Dr Gary Nestor, Business Development Manager, Newcastle Science City said: “These students have brought a new dynamic to our work.  In a research and development environment, it is often a considerable advantage to have a multi-cultural team as they bring a freshness and diversity of thinking to a project.  In turn we have enabled the students to have close contact with the highest level of scientific research in the University and giving them practical business knowledge.”

The placements were organised in collaboration with Newcastle University’s Careers Service through their Newcastle Work Experience programme.  The students have completed 100 hours each and will receive a training bursary of £575 for their work.

Emeka Chibuike is studying for an MSc in Industrial and Commerical Biotechnology at Newcastle University.  His first degree was in Biochemistry from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and he was one of only five students from his state, Imo, to be awarded a scholarship to study in the UK.   He enjoyed his experience of Newcastle Science City in particular the practical element of his work and learning about subjects such as patents. 

His long term plan is to return to Nigeria and help national development through work with both industry and academic institutions.  Emeka first became interested in science through travelling in the Nigerian countryside and becoming fascinated by the animals he saw there.

Lu Fangming is studying for an MSc REFLEX qualification which focuses on renewable energy.  He graduated from Northumbria University in June 2008, with an
Engineering degree, which included an initial two years at his home city’s University in Nanjing, central China.

His particular interest is in renewable energy and he is keen to return to China once his MSc is completed and he has some industry experience, to exploit the huge potential market for various environmental initiatives from windfarms to photovoltaic technologies which use sunlight to generate power.  He is finding his knowledge of renewable energy is greatly increasing through his Science City placement in particular in areas like fuel cells.

Like Emeka, Sadaf Atarod is studying for an MSc in Industrial and Commerical Biotechnology at Newcastle.  Her first degree was in Biotechnology from Manipal University, Dubai.

She came to Newcastle as it was the only University she found which allowed her to study both science and commercialisation.  Sadaf has researched various elements of stem cell research for her placement and also carried out market research in products to test demand for them.

Her long term plan is to set up her own bio-tech company in the Middle East as there are no major bio-tech firms over there at present.

These three placements were set up and organised through Newcastle University’s Careers Service and the research they have undertaken has been so beneficial NSC hopes to repeat the placement with a further three students later in the year.

Nick Keeley, Director of the Newcastle University Careers Service, added that “This type of high-level student expertise is available to businesses at a hugely subsidised cost, making it accessible to all.  Newcastle Science City presented such a beneficial project for the students that they have been able to significantly expand their skills base, gaining relevant and challenging work experience in the process.”

Dated: 02/02/2009

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