Synapse Case Competition: Leading Tomorrow's R&D

Are you looking to gain experience with R&D, test your leadership skills and help solve real-life problems faced by companies in Medicon Valley? 

Synapse Case Competition: Leading Tomorrow’s R&D is a new initiative from Synapse - Life Science Connect that aims to help create and discover the next generation of life science leadership in Medicon Valley. 

The goal of Synapse Case Competition is to expose life science students to the unique challenges faced by Chief Scientific Officers (CSOs) today and equip students with the skill set needed to overcome these challenges. Therefore, we are encouraging all students with an interest in the life science industry to apply. 


The Case: Help solve the R&D challenges within Medicon Valley

At the case competition, students will work in teams of three to solve an R&D-oriented  business case co-organised by McKinsey & Company. The participants will be given hands-on experience with real data from some of the biggest companies in Greater Copenhagen and receive feedback from consultants and company representatives.




The Program: A one-week case competition

The case competition will be launched on Friday (17.30 to 20.00), September 11th, by McKinsey & Co and Heidrick and Struggle. All teams will work on their case solution until midnight of Monday, September 14th. On Thursday, September 17th, selected finalists will then attend a presentation workshop (17.30-19.00) by McKinsey & Co to prepare them for the Case Finals on Friday, September 18th (17.30 to 20.00). 


The Prize: Meeting with the top of Medicon Valley companies

The winning teams will have the fantastic opportunity to visit Novo Nordisk, LEO Pharma or Chr. Hansen where they’ll learn more about the company, get to pitch their idea to an R&D senior vice president or chief scientific officer and sit down with them for a Q&A lunch.



Meet the companies

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm. They help organizations across the private, public, and social sectors create Change that Matters.

From the C-suite to the front line, they partner with clients to transform organizations in the ways that matter most. This requires embedding digital, analytics, and design into core processes and mind-sets, and building capabilities that help organizations and people to thrive in an ever-changing context.

With exceptional people in 65 countries, they combine global expertise and local insight to help you turn your ambitious goals into reality.

Heidrick & Struggles

Heidrick & Struggles is a worldwide executive search firm, specializing in chief executive and senior level assignments.

For more than 60 years, they have focused on quality service and built strong leadership teams through their relationships with clients and individuals worldwide.

Today, Heidrick & Struggles leadership experts operate from principal business centers in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

LEO Pharma

Leo Pharma is an independent, research-based pharmaceutical company. The company develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical drugs to dermatologic and thrombotic patients in more than 100 countries globally.

To realise their vision of becoming the preferred dermatology care partner improving people’s lives around the world, they are expanding into new regions and markets, reaching more patients and societies with drugs and therapies that address unmet medical needs.

Leo Pharma has its own sales forces in 61 countries and employs around 5,000 employees worldwide. The company is headquartered in Denmark and is wholly owned by the Leo Foundation.

Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk A/S is a global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered just outside Copenhagen, Denmark.

Their purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity, and rare blood and rare endocrine diseases. They do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to their medicines and working to prevent and ultimately cure the diseases they treat.

They employ more than 43,000 people in 80 offices around the world, and market their products in 170 countries.

Chr. Hansen

Chr. Hansen is a global bioscience company that develops natural solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

We develop and produce cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors for a rich variety of foods, confectionery, beverages, dietary supplements, animal feed, and plant protection. Our product innovation is based on around 40,000 microbial strains – we like to refer to them as “good bacteria.”

Our solutions enable food manufacturers to produce more with less – while also reducing the use of chemicals and other synthetic additives – which makes our products highly relevant in today’s world. We have been delivering value to our partners – and, ultimately, end consumers worldwide – for more than 145 years. We are proud that more than 1 billion people consume products containing our natural ingredients every day.


The When, Where, How: All you need to know

When is it?  
The Synapse Case Competition will take place from Friday, September 11th, to Friday, September 18th. 

Where is it? 
To make sure the case competition is a safe event for all, it will be held online this year. 

Who can apply? 
The case competition is available for life science students (BSc, MSc, PhD) and recent graduates (within one year) from the Medicon Valley area. 

How do I apply? 
You can join the case competition by signing up through the form below. Once you've signed up, you will receive a link to our case competition platform. Make sure to check your spam box if you haven't received one, or reach out to us at 


Application deadline
The last day to sign up for the case competition is extended to Wednesday, September 9th. 


How do I form a team? 
Through our case competition platform you'll be able to search for teammates through our match-making option and form teams until September 9th.

Which company case can I work on?
In the sign-up form below, we ask you to list your company case priorities. Company cases will be assigned based on teams composition and case availability before the start of the case competition.

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