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Meet Viviane, RiSM intern at Roche

Hi, my name is Viviane...

...I was born and raised in Fribourg, a bilingual city on the Röstigraben of Switzerland. After my apprenticeship as a laboratory technician, I moved to Muttenz near Basel, where I studied Pharmatechnology at the University of Applied Sciences for my bachelor’s. As I wanted to extend my knowledge and learn even more about formulation and drug development, I fulfilled the admission requirements and changed to the University of Basel for my master’s studies in Drug Sciences. Now I am in the final semester and writing my master’s thesis based on my internship in Formulation R&D Oral Dosage Forms. This internship is part of the Roche Internship in Small Molecules Programme (RiSM) and gives me a valuable insight into formulation development of oral dosage forms.

My typical day at work is…

...highly varied and interesting. I am working on the development of a new dosage form for children. After a first literature search, objectives were defined with my supervisors. Laboratory technicians helped me learn new techniques and trained me on equipment. Afterwards, my work was mostly independent. In my weekly meeting with my supervisors, I can propose further steps based on the results obtained and discuss open questions. I am also working across different groups to gather as much knowledge and experience as possible. This helps me see my work as part of the bigger picture and is very motivating.

The location I am working at is…

...Basel headquarters. I am very lucky to be able to come to work by bike, as I have lived in Muttenz since my bachelor’s studies. Basel is a great city with very open-minded people. I have an open office workplace, but it is very quiet so that I have no problems focusing on my work. There is basically everything you need on site, such as an indoor swimming pool, a gym, canteens and restaurants and even a post office. There are many interns here on site, and regular get-togethers help me keep in touch with at least a few of them.

My work helps Roche to…

...develop a new paediatric oral dosage form. I work with a placebo formulation but my results are being translated and applied to new drug substances. I am also developing a new analytical setup which will be used for the compatibility testing of drug products with different kind of foods.

Roche as an employer is…

...a great environment. You don’t just learn a lot about helping patients and delivering new drug products: there are so many soft skills you can pick up, such as collegiality, trust, empowerment and respect. Many different cultures and backgrounds are working together in one organisation, in one department, and even in one team, and each input is taken with the same value. Despite organisational changes within the department and challenging work environments, the groups I have the chance to work in keep their team spirit and help each other to reach the superordinate goals.

Compared to my experience at university, science at Roche is…

...much more results-oriented. In university, research is more about fundamental mechanisms and theoretical knowledge. In contrast to this, the developed methods, active ingredients and drug products developed at Roche are aimed at helping patients in the near future. Every single step which can be sped up, helps patients to get appropriate treatment earlier, and this makes the work valuable day after day.

The RiSM Programme helps me to develop because…

...I have direct insight into industrial research and development. I can talk to persons with different backgrounds and career paths, which gives me ideas for my own personal development. Furthermore, I can acquire valuable and transferable skills which will help me in future positions. Additionally, I can expand my social network and take the first step along my career path. Writing my thesis document under the supervision of my mentors also helps me to pick up relevant practices and tools for scientific writing. I really like this bridge between theory and practical work and am glad to have the opportunity to do this within the RiSM programme.

To people who are interested in the RiSM programme, I would recommend them to...

...not worry. The programme is a wonderful opportunity to take a first step in an industrial setting. Even if you are not familiar with this environment, the team and the mentors will help and support you in a way you can’t even imagine. You can apply the knowledge gained in your previous studies and realise what impact you can make. There is no other place where you can learn so many new techniques and meet so many amazing people in such a short time, and set the path of your future.

Interested in learning more about the RiSM program at Roche? Click here for more information.

Tags: Switzerland, Career Blog, Basel, Research, Research & Development, Early In Career