Dr Sam Olof: Transitioning from Academia to Spin-Out
Dr Sam Olof was a member of the 2009 BCFN cohort and undertook his PhD project (which he conceived and designed) across the groups of Professor Stephen Mann FRS and Professor Mervyn Miles FRS. After graduating from BCFN, he went on to secure a highly competitive Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford with Professor Hagen Bayley FRS, and is now the Director of Technology at OxSyBio (a spin-out company started by Professor Bayley with whom he helped secure venture capital funding of £1M) and a Visiting Scientist at University of Oxford Department of Chemical Biology. Since taking up the role at OxSyBio (where he was the second employee), he has raised funds which have amounted to a growth of the company of 15 times. His development from PhD student, through PDRA to spin-out was catalysed by the BCFN training model which goes beyond traditional PhD programmes to balance the development of core scientific competencies with breadth of training and an emphasis on confidence in working across disciplinary boundaries. This approach is well suited to individuals seeking a future in spin-outs or so-called high-growth technology companies. Recently Sam has employed BCFN graduates at OxSyBio, and the first joint-funded BCFN-OxSyBio PhD student will join our 2017 cohort.