Internships / Praktika


I am often asked for connections for internships. Since it’s quite some time that I left Roche and did not meet colleagues due to the pandemic my connections are not so good as they were earlier. But also here the internet helps: Since the companies want to be “equal opportunity employers” they put everything, even internships, on their career webpages. So even if you do have connections, you need to go through the tedious process of establishing a profile and submitting CV documents.


Typically the internships are a subject of the budgeting process. The costs for interns are be approved along with the investment budget, and therefore it sometimes takes much time for the companies to decide upon the budget (it happened to us one that the budget was only released in May!) Therefore the advertisements appear sometimes on short notice, so please check often, especially from now (march) on.


Here some possibilities- some might look strange to you but I know that all have labs and do research..:

Nestlé Health Science
Migros, SQTS lab in Dietikon
Philipp Morris
Bundesamt für Veterinärmedizin BVET
Bundesamt für Gesundheit BAG
Kantonales Labor ZH
Unispital Basel
SGMS (society for mass spectrometry) rather ‘real’ jobs
myScience (good portal for academic jobs, but also trainee/intenships)


What you do during the internship is not of central significance, at least it is not for me. In my role as manager I liked to see that students used a part of their lecture free time to earn money for their living or their luxury ‘no’ matter what job it was. It shows that you make an effort to live on your own, and, most importantly, that you have social experience in the working environment, with a boss that cares about nothing but what and when you deliver, and colleagues that are helpful or not, and challenges that you master or not. This experience is of utmost importance for us academics: The most frequent criticism I heard from lab staff about my academic colleagues was about respect in social behaviour: Not saying hello upon entering and goodbye when leaving a lab, not greeting on the corridor, not explaining reasons when assigning jobs and not respecting practical difficulties. This is a shame!

Never forget

Research work is teamwork. In the ideal lab the tasks are distributed according to the capabilities and skills, and the boss’ job is just one of the tasks that have to be done, and not the most desireable! With dirty labware and defective instruments you go nowhere and with “nine-to-five” effort of your staff you miss your deadlines. If you have very competent staff, give them liberty and responsibility. If you encounter misbehavior, lazyness or incompetence, address the issue personally, timely and in a polite way – also if it’s one of your colleagues. Normally it is much more difficult to resolve conflicts if manager(s) are involved.

According to Prof Malik*, my favourite management professor, the only discriminant feature he found to distinguish successful from less successful companies was that in the successful ones management helped the staff and the staff helped management. Very surprising, isn’t it?

Fredmund Malik, Führen Leisten Leben, Campus Verlag, 2019, ISBN 978-3-593-51069-9

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