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Part of the EMBO community


Heidelberg, 26 July 2017 – “Connecting with other Young Investigators is super helpful for me,” says Annika Guse, who established her independent lab at Heidelberg University, Germany, four years ago and became an EMBO Young Investigator in 2017. “Many of us are at similar career stages and we face similar challenges in our everyday lives. Sharing experiences and ideas among us is a fantastic way of helping each other.”


Annika describes an essential aspect of the EMBO Young Investigator Programme: becoming part of a community of early-career independent researchers. In addition to providing financial and practical support, the programme encourages mutual exchange and support through a range of different activities, including institute visits, sectoral meetings and the annual Young Investigator meeting (see below).


The feeling that EMBO has helped her career beyond the provision of financial support also resonates with Uschi Symmons, an EMBO Long-Term Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. “I've really enjoyed being an EMBO Fellow, not just because the funding has given me a sense of independence, but also because it's helped me make contacts in the community – first through the interview, then later the Lab Management Course and the Fellows’ Meeting.”


Like the Young Investigator meeting, the Fellows’ Meeting (see below) invites participants to share their research and, perhaps most importantly, to meet each other and develop a network of people at a similar career stage.


“The best thing about the meeting was the ability to spend so many days with other EMBO Fellows and get to know them personally and professionally,” says Vinoy Vijayan. The EMBO Fellow at the University of Leuven, Belgium, found that talking to other fellows helped him to realize that many of his own problems and worries are shared by others. He adds: “I learnt a lot about [their] future plans, which will hopefully guide my decisions as I transition from my postdoc.”


A basis for collaborations


However, it is not just the exchange of personal experiences that the Long-Term Fellows and Young Investigators value. They also recognize these communities as a useful way to connect with other scientists outside their immediate fields of expertise and to develop new ideas and collaborations.


Sebastian Glatt from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, joined the Young Investigator Programme when he received an EMBO Installation Grant in 2015. He describes it as “a very active community”, and explains that both he and his group have benefited from the connections he has made.


In addition to taking part in the annual and sectoral meetings, Sebastian invited other Young Investigators to visit his institute, and he is involved in setting up regular meetings with other Installation Grantees and Young Investigators in Poland. “The whole lab profits from being involved in a very active, excellent community, which is not something that is necessarily so developed here in Poland. [The programme] offers a really useful mix of general exchange – like the Young Investigator meeting – and more focused groups, where the science is even more interesting.”


For EMBO Young Investigator Matteo Iannacone, San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, scientific connections are an essential aspect of being part of the EMBO network. “I have several collaborations that were initiated because of meeting other Young Investigators through the programme. For me, this practical aspect is the most important part of being an EMBO Young Investigator.”


EMBO Long-Term Fellow Jorge Beira, ETH Zurich, Switzerland adds: “Connecting with other EMBO Fellows was probably just the first step towards exploring future shared interests and possibly collaborations. The meeting really opened up a number of avenues to think together about different topics.”




The Young Investigator Meeting 2017


The EMBO Young Investigator Meeting took place between 17 and 19 May 2017. Each of the 60 participants presented their research in a short talk. In addition to the scientific talks, the attendees participated in s scientific speed networking session and a series of presentations and discussions.


During the session dedicated to the Young Investigator Programme, the attendees heard about the support and opportunities the programme offers and were able to provide feedback and input on its activities. During the Open Science roundtable, EMBO’s Head of Scientific Publications Bernd Pulverer and Deputy Head of Scientific Publications Thomas Lemberger shared updates on Open Science in general and the activities of EMBO Press in particular.


Young Investigators were invited to attend one of two training workshops. The workshop “Presenting with Impact” focused on honing the Young Investigators’ skills in presenting science in different settings and included the opportunity to record a presentation on video. The second workshop offered a condensed version of the EMBO Laboratory Management Course on Research Leadership. It covered topics such as delegation, feedback, conflict and collaboration.




The Fellows’ Meeting 2017


A total of 106 EMBO Fellows attended this year’s Fellows’ Meeting between 13 and 16 June 2017. 59 of them were invited to share their research in short presentations. Two poster sessions offered plenty of opportunity to discuss the varied projects – spanning the whole of the life sciences – in more detail.


The participants also heard from a range of other speakers, including former EMBO Fellows Julia Santiago Cuellar and Martin Denzel, who shared insights on their research and their journey to running an independent lab. Environmentalist and author Mark Lynas gave a keynote presentation on GMOs and becoming a pro-science campaigner, while Dominik Maas from KoWi, Bonn, Germany, offered advice on postdoctoral funding opportunities in the EU.


The programme was completed by a set of presentations from EMBO staff, who talked about some of the organisation's latest activities and shared advice on scientific publishing, communicating science to non-scientists and responsible research conduct.


Impressions from the Fellows’ Meeting 2017 are also available in a Storify and on Facebook.




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Tilmann KiesslingTilmann Kiessling
Head, Communications
T. + 49 160 9019 3839