Meet Samy Al-Bourgol: the FBI Business Engineer

Meet Samy Al-Bourgol: the FBI Business Engineer


My name is Samy Al-Bourgol and I recently joined the France-BioImaging team as a Business Engineer as part of the CNRS “Transfer Engineer” program. In a few words, my mission consists of forging solid links between the academic and the industrial world by facilitating partnerships and finding a common ground.

  • What’s your scholar and professional background?

I originally have a Master’s degree in Genetics and Cell Biology with a specialization in BioImaging at the University of Lyon 1. Subsequently, I had the opportunity to carry out a thesis in Saint-Étienne, on the conservation of corneal grafts integrated into bioreactors. The objective was to improve the storage conditions of the grafts, in order to provide the patient with a better quality and with a significantly increased lifespan. My experiences in the biomedical field, and in the field of lasers, led me, following my thesis, to join a core facility specialized in femtosecond lasers, named Alphanov in nearby area of Bordeaux.

For almost two years, I worked as a research engineer developing a proof of concept to integrate femtosecond lasers into operating theaters for maxillofacial bone surgeries, with the aim of replacing saws and surgical hammers, very traumatic tools for patients during operations. After my position as a research engineer, I undertook an MBA (Master of Business Administration) in marketing and business development at the ESG Bordeaux business school with the aim of developing my functions.

  • Why did you move from research to business?

I have always been interested in the business side of science. Originally, even before the obtention of my PhD, I wanted to enroll in a Technical-Commercial Engineering Master’s degree, with the aim of developing a dual skill in science and commerce. Ultimately, fate decided otherwise, but in reality, this ambition never really left my mind. If anything, the many interactions I’ve had with biomedical and pharmaceutical companies have only reinforced this idea over time.

The moment when I really decided to train in commerce and the valorization of science was during a discussion with surgeons at the Bordeaux University Hospital, an experience which, in my humble opinion, illustrates the purpose of research: to be able to reach and serve society.

For humanity to truly benefit from research projects, it is necessary to involve a plurality of actors and skills. Only in this way can we hope to exploit the work of scientists to their full potential.

“I firmly believe that these collaborations can bring tangible benefits to all parties involved, a notion that I consider not only feasible but also extremely valuable in the current national and international research environment.”

  • What kind of missions do you have? What’s your job’s objectives?

Researchers and research engineers carry out excellent work every day, demonstrating unrivaled expertise in their respective fields. However, science is a demanding art that requires total involvement. It becomes complicated to find the time to respond to funding or to participate in the co-construction of collaboration with manufacturers who have sometimes restrictive specifications. My role is to relieve facilities and academic laboratories that wish to collaborate with industrials. In a nutshell, my overall objective is to create win-win collaborations, bringing tangible benefits, both scientifically and financially, to the platforms and laboratories integrated into France-BioImaging.

  • What’s your vision about the future of core facilities and research infrastructures?

Research infrastructures represent essential tools in a scientific and technological environment that is constantly becoming more complex, especially in an increasingly demanding economic context. They offer their members valuable support by promoting the pooling of technologies and knowledge and by providing undeniable financial advantages. However, in my opinion, each research infrastructure is still missing an essential characteristic: a common culture, a true feeling of belonging, while respecting the specific identity of each entity that composes it.

If we can unify these cultures and encourage mutual understanding and effective cooperation, then research infrastructures can realize their full potential. Indeed, the best technologies and knowledge, when used individually, cannot match the potential and results that sharing and cooperation between platforms and research laboratories can offer.

  • What do you expect from this new professional adventure?

This work is located at the border between the worlds of science, commerce, communication and valorization/innovation. Professionally speaking, it is a real opportunity to be at the interface of these very different but complementary fields of work. My main ambition in this professional adventure is to be able to serve as a bridge between actors and expertise coming from various professional backgrounds, and to succeed in mobilizing collaborations that are beneficial for all parties involved.

Persistent prejudices about the academic and industrial sectors can sometimes generate resistance to possible collaborations, even though they could lead to exceptional results. Having the opportunity to consolidate or establish contacts between these two worlds, with all the benefits that will ensue, represents both my greatest expectation and one of the greatest challenges of this adventure.

Samy will be happy to work with you! Contact him: