To leave and return… When Charles Betz, who grew up in Luxembourg City, left the country to continue his studies in molecular biology abroad, his idea was to pursue an international academic career. His first destination was Switzerland. “In general, Luxembourgers who study abroad go where there are other compatriots and stay within this group. I did not want that, and this is why I chose Basel which is very similar to Luxembourg and has a very pleasant quality of life.”
At the University of Basel, Charles obtained his Master’s degree and then a scholarship for a position as researcher in Boston. “This was a great experience. I could have continued working in the same field in London, but the best experts in the world were in Basel so I went back to finish my PhD.”
He then chose to work in one of the university’s laboratories where he studied blood system development by working on zebrafish. Meanwhile, after becoming a father he was looking for more stability as research was covered by fixed term contracts. Reconnected with Luxembourg through one of his acquaintances working at the University of Luxembourg, Charles was finally persuaded to try his luck within Luxinnovation’s European finance team.
“I hardly knew the agency at the time, but the more I checked it out the more I liked what it was doing. In my daily work, my background in research is very valuable for better defining companies’ needs. At the same time, I learnt a lot about project management, and I realise that this would have been very useful in my career as a researcher!”
Having joined the agency in 2017, he also participates in preparatory meetings for Horizon 2020 projects in Brussels where he can influence certain discussions in line with the expectations of the Luxembourg organisations that he represents. “This gives you a 360-degree vision and enables you to pass on information in both directions.”
This article was originally published in Luxinnovation’s Annual Report 2018.