Another highlight of the conference was the so-called “James Watson Master Class”. This was a round table talk, for which people needed to apply separately. I was lucky to be among the 17 chosen scientists to participate in a round table discussion with James Watson, who, as one of the discoverers of the structure of the double helix, is truly a living legend. James Watson gave some advice for young researchers, talked about his life and emphasized the importance to pursue a cure for cancer.
Altogether I can say that this was one of the most interesting conferences that I have attended as a graduate student. I would strongly recommend this type of meeting to all young researchers, regardless of their chosen career path, as it encourages graduate students to think beyond the boundaries of the lab and to put research into the bigger picture including education, communication and the society as a whole.
Elisabeth John and Jianguo Ding for LuxDoc
On the 14th of June 2012 was the International World Blood Donor Day. The Luxembourgish Association of Blood Donors (Entente des Donneurs de Sang Bénévoles) together with LuxDoc organized an event in Luxembourg City. During this event, people were informed about the importance of donating blood and had their questions answered.
Luckily on this day, the weather was great and the city was crowded. Many persons were receptive. Some of the LuxDox members together with members from the Luxembourgish Association of Blood Donors were running around in the city centre in fancy blood drop costumes. Many tourists took pictures of us and wanted to have a photo together. In addition, we distributed balloons to the kids.
Altogether the event was a great success. Around 30 people registered as new blood donors. Some of them have already been blood donors in the country where they lived before. But there were also many young people that were excited about the possibility to save lives.
If you haven’t had the chance to come to the event and you would like to rescue lives, just go to the web page of the Luxembourgish Red Cross and register as new blood donor.
LuxDoc is proud to have been a part of this event and certainly giving back to the community felt great, especially since some of our members are using blood from the Red Cross routinely to perform their research activities.
Last March a Call for expression of interest for the "Voice of the Researchers" (VoR)
enabled the European Commission to select 25 candidates to start-up a group so that their voices can be heard directly. The Commission took the initiative to overcome a lack of direct communication with the primary level of research, i.e. the researchers themselves. A first brainstorming session identified several issues with a direct impact on both the research output as well as researchers themselves within Europe.
The VoR group met in Brussels on 23 March for a brainstorming session and, here, was asked to give its opinion on:
- The social recognition of researchers in Europe or the lack thereof;
- The career perspectives and barriers for researchers;
- The current reality of the common European Research Area (ERA).
The brainstorming session showed sometimes large differences between the conditions in the field and the aspirations of European and national policies. There is a need for an interface organization, the VoR, between the community of European Researchers and the professional organizations. The VoR wants to be a resource to different academic stakeholders and to the European Commission to complement and support their activities structuring the researcher’s careers. The VoR should be a bottom-up movement of researchers, collecting and channelling legitimate concerns to improve the life and working conditions of all European researchers. As such, the VoR remains entirely independent of the current stakeholders and needs as many supporters as possible. The European Commission acts only as a facilitator in this process.
Now it's your turn! That is why you are kindly invited to have a say on the issues discussed with the 25 and let your VoR colleagues know whether the selected issues are important to a much larger group of researchers across Europe too.
To this end, please go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FT7KNRZ and fill in the questionnaire, which will take no more than 5'.
Thank you in advance also for disseminating this information to your colleagues, friends and channels! Deadline: there is none but the questionnaire will automatically close once the 1000th response submitted.
Many thanks in advance!
The EURAXESS Portal team on behalf of the "Voice of the Researchers" group