1-2 October 2014 – Cambridge, Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge.
After months of discussions and proposals conducted by supervisors from each host institution and the program director, Dr. Vladimir Baulin, the management meeting in Cambridge sets the beginning of a great adventure!
In an atmosphere both earnest and casual, many topics have been discussed. Some, such as schedules for jointed events, everyone’s expectation, objectives of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs), potential collaborations, and network outreach activities.
Each ESR, through 10-minutes presentation, has gotten the opportunity to (1) demonstrate available infrastructure of the host institution (2) present available methods and techniques to share (3) reiterate the importance of collaboration. The available resources and topic of interests will set the basis for secondments, which is an inter-institutional training for ESRs.
To assist the ESRs on their projects and professional development, the supervisors had coordinated three intensive training courses and a two-week summer school. The upcoming course will be held in Manchester, UK by the University of Manchester and Unilever in Spring 2015. Followed by the summer school in Sicily, Italy, in mid-July 2015. In September 2015 the second training course will be held in London by the University of Cambridge, Imperial College, and Biopharma. And the year 2015 will end with the third training course hosted by Institut Charles Sadron, Universitaet Frankfurt, and Universitätsmedizin Mainz in December.
It is really exciting to see a group of well-established and open-minded scientists from different disciplines willing to mentor the next generation of young scientists. We believe with their guidance and efficient collaborations the ESRs will reach the project objectives and tackle important scientific problems we currently face. We strongly believe, interdisciplinary communication is the key to innovation. And through the SNAL network we wish to practice this concept and promote it in the scientific community.
We interviewed Dr. Rongjun Chen from Department of Chemical Engineering at the Imperial College (London) to share his thought. His views on this “well-organized meeting” includes, “all ESRs gave impressive presentations and projects about future work. It’s very exciting to see so many chances of collaboration within SNAL network. At the same time, we got a detailed plan of training courses in the next year, which helps to build up the training network. In all, it is a successful and worthwhile meeting”.
We would like to address our thanks to our supervisors for this experience and we are particularly grateful for Professor Nigel Slater from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology for hosting the meeting. We would also like to thank the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions for supporting the SNAL network.