What is the VUB Biotech Summer School 2020 all about?

  • Are you a bachelor student with a background in biology, chemistry, biotechnology or biomedical sciences?
  • Do you want to learn how biotechnology is used in applications?
  • Do you want to learn more on themes related to cancer research, synthetic biology, structural biology, plant genetics, and research valorisation?

If so, then sign up and come to Brussels for a two week summer school: 3-14 August 2020


***please note: there are NO scholarships available for this course***

VIDEO: see and hear more about the biotech summer school 2020

Find out more about the Biotech Summer School 2020 and meet some of the people involved by watching this video from last year's event!

What will you discover during these two weeks?

You will be immersed in the multidisciplinary and international research environment of the VUB which has an excellent reputation in training and research in molecular biology and biotechnology. Inspiring lectures will be combined with hands-on workshops with experienced researchers in state-of-the-art laboratories of the "Structural Biology Brussels", "Microbiology" and "Cellular and Molecular Immunology" research groups. 

You will go on a fascinating journey starting from the molecular level with a focus on proteins, to the cellular level with a focus on the engineering of microorganisms for use as cell factories, and on disease. The common thread through all the workshops and lectures are two classes of proteins: green fluorescent protein, which can be used as a research tool, and nanobodies, a unique class of camel antibiodies with far-reaching applications in biotechnology and medicine. Every day of the summer school will focus on a different theme: molecules, genes, cells, disease and applications. 

Programme Overview

“I really liked that we got to visit the labs and see research actually taking place. I think this is crucial in scientific education but often neglected in most bachelor programmes” – Biotech Summer School 2019 participant

A general overview of the 2020 programme

The Biotech Summer School 2020 “Where biology meets technology” will take place in Brussels at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Brussels, Belgium from Monday 3 – Friday 14 August 2020.

The summer school will be spread across two weeks in order to give every subject addressed ample time and consideration. A more detailed programme will become available in due course. The below is a broad outline of the two weeks.  

Week 1:

On the first day, Monday 3 August, there will be a welcome session outlining practicalities for the two weeks, with an outline on the education and research activities at the VUB, and an overview of the learning objectives and activities of the summer school itself.

The rest of the week will include thematic lectures and workshops on microorganisms and proteins.

  • Lectures will focus on the biotechnological potential of microorganisms, with a guided tour of the research group ‘Microbiology’’s laboratories.
  • There will be workshops on synbio engineering of fluorescent bacteria and mycelium materials using filamentous fungi.

The theme of proteins will look at proteins and the structure-function relationship.

  • There will be a visit to the research group ‘Structural Biology Brussels’ and their laboratories.
  • Workshops will look at x-ray diffraction, fluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

=> During this first week there will be one informal group dinner, a guided tour of Brussels, and a visit to an artisanal brewery in Brussels.

Week 2:

The themes tackled through lectures and workshops are immunology and plants. A day will be spent at the university’s health campus at the university hospital.

The topic of immunology will focus on nanobodies with workshops on cancer research and on nanobodies in parasitology research. There will be a guided visit of the ‘Cellular and Molecular Immunology’ research group and their laboratories. The last theme is plant genetics with a guided tour of the ‘Plant Genetics’ research group and their laboratories.

The Biotech Summer School 2020 will close on Friday 14 August with presentations by students and a certificate hand-out, followed by a closing reception.

=> There will be a visit to the Parlamentarium, another informal group dinner. The weekend of 8-9 August: Saturday 8 August will be a free day for you to do as you please (shopping, discovering Brussels, etc); Sunday 9 August we will set up a visit for the day.

Date: 3-14 August 2020

Place: the VUB Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus, Brussels, Belgium

Credits: 3 ECTS

Registration fee including accommodation (based on a shared room with someone of the same gender): €1,350

Registration fee including accommodation (based on a single room): €1,500

Registration fee excluding accommodation: €775

!!! Please note there are no scholarships available from VUB for this summer school !!!! 

Application Deadline: 1 May 2020 

Please upload your cv and motivational on the Application tab. If accepted you will be contacted with information on how and where to register, as well as payment details.

Disclaimer #1: the organisers reserve the right to cancel this summer school if there is not a minimum number of participants. The minimum for this summer school to go ahead is 10. The decision will be taken on 1 May. 

Disclaimer #2 regarding cancellation policy:

  • A full reimbursement of the registration fee will be given if cancellation happens before 1 April 2020 (this does not include reimbursement of flights, or other travel expenses. Only the registration fee (including or excluding accommodation) will be reimbursed). 
  • A partial reimbursement of 50% of the registration fee will be given if cancellation happens between 2 April until 15 May 2020 (this does not include reimbursement of flights, or other travel expenses. Only the registration fee (including or excluding accommodation) will be reimbursed). 
  • After 15 May 2020 there will be no reimbursements of the registrations fees due to cancellation.

Disclaimer #3: should we need to cancel the biotech summer school for some reason or another, then we shall reimburse the registration fee to all those who have paid. We will however not reimburse travelling costs or additional expenses you made outside of this registration fee. We encourage all students to always take insurance to cover any eventualities. 

Any questions?

Don't hesitate to send us an email!



Deadline for applications: 1 May 2020

!!!No scholarschips available!!!

Any questions? Want more info?

Don't hesitate to send us an email!