17 September 2021
During an online Commencement Ceremony held earlier today, the EPO welcomed a record intake of 117 new Pan-European Seal (PES) trainees from 50 universities in 27 member states and celebrated the valuable contribution made by the 77 graduates from the 2020/21 cohort.
In his welcome address, EPO President António Campinos noted that extending the Programme partnerships to Europe's leading technical universities is an important step in integrating IP into technical and scientific education. He also highlighted the programme's growing success: female trainees accounted for 60% of the 2020/21 cohort, underlining the EPO's commitment to diversity and social responsibility. The graduates were congratulated for their adaptability, resilience and above all their valuable contribution to the Office.
The EPO President offered advice and words of encouragement to the new Seals: Firstly, to be curious. ‘Curiosity is our business, after all' he said. Secondly, to be bold and bring new ideas to the table. Finally, to grow their personal and professional network, build bridges and reach out. ‘Whatever challenges you may face over the next few months - remember that this is your chance to help shape the future of this organisation. So bring your ideas, your energy and your creativity and really make them count while you're here.''
During the interactive ceremony, former trainees spoke on their personal experiences of the programme and the new normal. The event also included a lively panel session featuring the programme team and two PES tutors, and video messages from colleagues across the Office who shared insight on the journey to personal growth at work.
This year marks the seventh consecutive programme run jointly with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The EPO and EUIPO work together with 94 partner universities in 35 member states and two extension states, to enhance IP education and to bridge the gap between academia and the labour market. It gives graduates the opportunity to experience work in a collaborative, multicultural environment, undertake challenging assignments, and build their professional networks. Despite the challenges faced with the pandemic, the programme continues to grow: fourteen new universities, including technical universities, joined this year and contributed to the highest-ever intake of trainees in its history.