Dr. Lee Kim Swee leads his tumor immunology research group at BioMed X in Heidelberg, Germany with a large appreciation for the importance of curiosity to their work. In his words, “Curiosity is a prerequisite in science.”
BioMed X is a cutting-edge innovation center on the campus of the University of Heidelberg in Germany that fills a gap often found between academic research and the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Its interdisciplinary project teams recruit scientists from around the world to work together on research projects in biomedicine, molecular biology, cell biology, diagnostics and consumer care. Successful projects can be adopted by the project’s sponsor and turned into real products or spun out into independent startup companies.
He explains that before scientists join BioMed X, they must go through a “bootcamp that forces participants to come up with innovative ideas. The type of questions applicants ask and how they formulate them can reveal a lot about their scientific potential.” As he puts it: “There are no stupid questions but some are better than others.”
“We take innovation to heart at BioMed X and constantly try to implement tools that stimulate creativity,” says Swee. He explains that crafting an environment to support curiosity and innovation must happen deliberately, because “innovation and creativity only happens on fertile ground.”