PDEng trainee Olalla Guerra Miguez

Olalla Guerra Miguez is studying for a Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) in the field of Bioprocess Design. “As a chemical engineer, I wanted to have a stronger link with the life sciences.”

“I came from Spain especially for this, because the PDEng programme is unique to the Netherlands,” Olalla Guerra says. “Many of the students come from different countries and backgrounds. That is also why the programme is tailor-made for every student. During the first year, which is mainly course-based, you determine with your supervisor which gaps in your knowledge you need to fill with which course.”

Individual project

In the second year, students work on their own individual projects inside a company. Olalla Guerra is conducting hers in a pharmaceutical company. “It’s really nice to be able to link academic knowledge to practical applications. My department works on the purification of medicinal compounds from a mix that is produced by micro-organisms. Something unexpected is happening in one of these processes and it is my job to find out why.” She explains that companies usually want things developed quickly and do not often stop to ask why processes work the way they do. “As a PDEng student, it is my job to develop new ideas and try to find the answers. That’s why companies are keen to take on PDEng students.”


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