Guest blog post by Jürgen Deka, Head of External Scientific Training, EMBL
The International Day of Friendship (annually on 30th July) got me thinking about our friends in the scientific training field, and our collaborations with them which enable us all to deliver our high-level scientific conferences and courses.
It’s important to have a goal to work towards, and at EMBL Events we generally benchmark ourselves against Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Keystone Symposia in the US, and the Wellcome Genome Campus in the UK. A bit of healthy competition is good for the soul, and I think we all thrive on challenges! It allows all four of us to provide top-class training to benefit as many scientists as possible throughout the world, and in this sense we all have the same aim.
“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
If you are looking to establish and foster friendly collaborations in scientific training, here are 6 tips that can help you achieve your goal:
- Keep in regular contact
- Align your goals with each other
- Be aware of what the other organisations are doing and talk to them openly so you can adapt your plans accordingly
- Don’t arrange meetings with the same audiences too close together. If people are going to attend both meetings – either as speakers, participants or sponsors – there needs to be some space in between
- Find ways to work together in order to highlight and complement your strengths
- Learn from each other, but don’t try to be like the others – work on developing your own strengths
Here’s how we work with our counterparts to allow us all to offer the best science possible worldwide:
- Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: With the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory we have very close ties. We alternate one of our most popular conferences with our friends at CSHL, the EMBO Workshop ‘Protein Synthesis and Translational Control’. We align our programme plans in order to provide added value for our scientific community. Discussion and exchange between the programme heads and other members of staff takes place on a regular basis.
- Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses + Scientific Conferences: We run a series of conferences on topics of mutual interest for both organisations. The conferences alternate annually between both conference venues in Heidelberg, Germany and Hinxton, UK. We hold an annual EMBL-WGC Working Group to discuss our training values as well as ideas for further events. Reciprocal visits happen once or more per year. Joint conferences include “Target Validation using Genomics and Informatics” and “Proteomics in Cell Biology and Disease Mechanisms”.
- Keystone Symposia: As with the other research institutes, EMBL’s collaboration with Keystone Symposia is a long-standing one. We exchange our thoughts and ideas and align our conference programmes once per year. Our friends at Keystone Symposia have been particularly open and collaborative with regards to the alignment of their symposia taking place in Europe.