BNF - Nationales Qualifizierungsprogramm



© Universität Bern

If you were to make a movie of BNF / the story of BNF: What would be the title of the movie or series?

Unemployment brings much of uncertainty and challenges everyone not only financially, but also emotionally. During pandemic unemployment tolls even harder and that is why an optimistic attitude, motivation and aspiration are becoming so essential. Had I made a movie about BNF, the title would have been Encouragement.

After completion her PhD studies, my flatmate struggled to find her career path and from her I heard an acronym BNF the very first time. At that time, I was completely absorbed in my PhD routine: running in vivo experiments, pipetting into thousands of Eppendorf tubes, measuring samples, analysing results, and creating a compelling story out of it. A couple of years later I found myself unemployed, frustrated with endless rejections of my job applications and deeply concerned about next steps. Then the word BNF popped up in my memory and I decided to explore what this abbreviation stood for, what would be conditions and possibilities.

I easily discovered the meaning of each letter in the abbreviation: B – “beraten” (advise), N – “netzwerken” (network) and F – “fördern” (promote). And my journey with BNF began. Before my first appointment with a BNF advisor in Zurich I took some time to identify skills that I already had and wanted to work on, and professional directions that were appealing for me and where I would like to move. During this introductory meeting I understood better how the BNF program works, discovered a variety of existing internships, discussed concrete steps that would be reasonable in my case and made a clear plan. Afterwards I short-listed a couple of interesting projects, contacted potentials supervisors to get more details and finally landed my internship in a start-up company working on educational opportunities for healthcare professionals. Thanks to this internship I have an excellent chance to glimpse into daily work of a Scientific/Medical writer, to further sharpen my writing and organizational skills, to learn more about orthopedics, to meet new people with diverse backgrounds and to gain working experience in the challenging start-up environment. So far, I have taken part only in one engaging course from the BNF program and I hope to participate in some other courses although they are booked out tremendously fast.

Now I am in the middle of my BNF internship, my journey continues, and I believe that my newly acquired knowledge and skills value and will facilitate finding my new job.

BNF Participant, Zurich, Biologist