Filipa Tomé – Innovation Consultant at Innovayt
I am an Innovation Consultant at Innovayt, a company whose mission is to help clients create value through innovation.
I am from Portugal and a scientist by training. I did my PhD in Plant Physiology at Bayer CropScience (Belgium) within a Marie Curie Initial Training Network, and then a Postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, first as part of a Cluster of Excellence in Plant Sciences (CEPLAS) and then as a Bayer-Alexander von Humboldt fellow.
From bench research to innovation consulting within a year
After nine years of academic research, I decided to experience new professional avenues and took a position as a Scientific Innovation Officer at the Faculty of Sciences in Lisbon. It was during this time that I participated as a fellow in the LifeArc-AUTM programme and got to know Technology Transfer (TT) more closely. During the fellowship period, I started a new role as an Innovation Consultant at Innovayt, a Danish Innovation Consultancy, and I am now working in their offices in Braga, in the north of Portugal.
The LifeArc-AUTM programme came at a perfect time for me: I was right in the process of re-thinking my career and exploring new opportunities. I started connecting with people working on Innovation and Technology Transfer, and it was fortunate that one of them shared the post advertising the fellowship, and I immediately decided to apply.
My expectations were clear: I wanted to get started, with everything this entails – get formal training, meet people that work in the field, understand what Technology Transfer is, and see if I would be a good fit for it.
The fellowship absolutely exceeded my expectations. I did get what I initially came for: the online training, opportunity to attend conferences and workshops to know more about the field, and all the framework to meet a lot of people that work in Technology Transfer. What it also brought was a fantastic group of people into my life, a set of experiences that gave me strength and confidence to tackle professional challenges, and a fierce motivation to continue to be part of this network.
As a scientist transitioning to a new career path, the LifeArc-AUTM Fellowship opened a whole new world for me: it paved the way to get to know Technology Transfer, gave me a unique opportunity to grow my professional network, and shaped my career in a truly positive way. It helped me recognise the value of innovation and the world of opportunities that comes with it. Overall, it was a very rewarding experience and I highly recommend it to anyone considering a career in Innovation and Technology Transfer.
There were no major challenges – even though the programme includes some events and workshops that require some travel, they were nicely spaced in time and organised in advance, so it was possible to plan and combine them with other work activities. The value of the training was also always very clear to my managers, so there was no problem being away for a few days to do them.
As a scientist willing to move into the innovation field, the programme gave me priority access to insights on the commercialisation of innovation and the entrepreneurship that underpins it.
We had access to specialised training, a dedicated mentor, and a huge network of professionals who were always willing to support us. All these experiences formed the starting point for the skills I wanted to develop and that would be useful in my next career step, which is often the missing link when entering a new professional field. My perspective on the innovation ecosystem, not only at European level, but internationally, is much more refined and complete.
I have developed a network of personal connections around the world – a definite plus for my job as an Innovation Consultant.
The personal highlight for me was our last meeting in London, it was a special moment to look back and clearly see everything we did and where it has led us. I especially enjoyed the moment where we all gathered around the table and told each other how life had changed for us in only a year – all of us had either new positions related to Technology Transfer and Innovation or more clear future plans, and had accomplished so much thanks to the experiences the fellowship provided!
There was a great combination of opportunities provided and a group of ambitious people more than willing to make the best of them. The highlight, post-fellowship, is definitely the personal connection the fellows still have – we keep in touch and continuously support each other. It is also very rewarding to be able to mentor the new fellows going into the programme – I am loving the experience and the opportunity to give back what I have learned.
There was continuous support for anything we needed, at all times: more training, internships, new contacts, access to job offers, or simply (and so important), a word of advice whenever we needed it. I take this opportunity to personally acknowledge Anji, who was always there for us and made all of this possible. I am very grateful for having had this opportunity.
When I completed the programme, I had already started my job as Innovation Consultant. I am using all the skills and professional toolbox I have learned in the innovation projects I am now developing.