Blog day 4: Workshops and discussions

We are nearing the end of an amazing introductory week, but not before we had these discussions about scientific integrity. On Tuesday, we prepared presentations about several subjects and today was the day to present them to our fellow students. There were three different rounds with different groups and subjects, all in the Rupert building. Topics ranged from the influence and importance of peer reviews and accurate authorship to the modification of dangerous viruses in sight of possible bioterrorism and the genetic engineering of eels to be able to breed them (Bad deal for the eel!). Some nice discussions arose and very interesting questions were asked. With the subject of my group, our chair was so enthusiastic that she fully joined the discussion! Pro tip: Do not forget to download your Google slides document and put it on a USB drive if you had promised to do so.

After the debate rounds, most of us had quite a long break, but this also allowed us to socialise more with the other students. With some of them, I had lunch in De Brink, the restaurant of the UMC Utrecht, which was also neat, because our afternoon programme was in the Pink, Green and Yellow lecture halls in the Hijmans van den Bergh building.

In the afternoon programme, we attended one of three workshops on different topics. Stefan Braam enlightened us about being an entrepreneur in the life sciences. Although it was more about being an entrepreneur an sich, it was a very useful and pleasant lecture. At one point, we were asked to create a budget model in just five minutes with only a bicycle and a hundred euros as at our disposal. He also comforted us with the words that failure is good and, apparently, this is the best time to be alive. Eelco Jongenburger and Eva Pantelakis took us on a journey in academic communication and what better way to explain it than to act? The importance of body language was addressed and we were asked to describe our first impression of our neighbour in just one word! Some sweet tips for nervousness were also subject of conversation.

This workshop literally ended with a bang as we got to pop the balloons they gave us. Fun! The third workshop, given by the amusing Dr. Léon Knippels was about the life of a scientist at Nutricia Research. He talked, amongst other things, about changes in the industry and the importance of communication. Taken together, it was a very diverse, interesting day. Tomorrow is the last day of our introduction with some lectures continuing subjects of today’s debates and we’ll go in depth on scientific writing. Apparently the week will end with some fun activities, so I am curious to find out what else they have in store for us! (…Despite the horrible weather that was forecast. Welcome to the Netherlands everyone!)

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