“Who are those people that are gathered in the cluster of excellence?” – Answering this question was in fact the driving idea behind the first IITB Students’ Network Meeting, convened in late May. Of course this was not about passing around a list of names, but rather about exploring the cluster’s unique opportunities for exchange and cooperation face to face.
Fruitful scientific teamwork is built on strong personal bonds and this, in the first place, requires getting to know each other! After a brief introduction to the concept of an “elevator pitch” it was the students’ turn to come up with a clear and concise micro-speech to introduce themselves to the others – preferably in an entertaining manner. Measured against the excited discussions following each of the pitches this goal was met with ease. Fortunately the coffee breaks offered some more time to go into details.
–“I want to contribute to the development of new adjuvants for vaccines and cancer therapeutics” (Sven)
Also the cluster coordination office took the chance to introduce themselves and their offers for PhD students as well as the current and future approaches to streamline the sharing of information and resources. The value of these institutions was evident to all participants and will become even more appreciable in the years ahead. As a start, three recent graduates were invited to provide insights into their experiences and advice on how to tackle difficulties on your way to the PhD.
Finally, in a mini-science slam, Sven Schmitt (Institute of Clinical Chemistry & Clinical Pharmacology) and Juan Rodríguez (Institute of Innate Immunity) impressively drew the bigger picture of what they pursue in their PhD work: To understand the immune system down to its building blocks, aiming at the development of novel clinical therapeutics for diseases ranging all the way from Alzheimer’s and diabetes to atherosclerosis and cancer.
In the end, this meeting was due and should be a regular part of the IITB program as another means to facilitate the exchange within the cluster! With its great atmosphere it is ideally suited to test new ways for presenting one’s work and to address career-related questions.
For more informal and personal exchange we highly recommend visiting the monthly IITB Stammtisch! Your next opportunity to join will be in August.