Alliance4Life Trigger Event Was a Big Hit

On 20th and 21st of January 2022 Alliance4Life_ACTIONS hosted its first Trigger Event targeting knowledge transfer professionals and early-stage researchers. Due to the current pandemic situation, the event which was originally planned to take place in Riga had to be organized online. What at first, looked like a disadvantage was cleverly turned into an opportunity. The organisers decided to open the majority of the program also to participants from non-member institutes across the entire Europe. Nearly 800 participants registered for the event and over 500 participants were connected online and participated in the inspiring discussions via online interaction tools. The Trigger Event consisted of closed training sessions aimed at knowledge transfer professionals and of open sessions for early stage researchers and industry. This was the very first event of the Alliance4Life that brought interesting learning and networking opportunities to the young talented researchers from Central and Eastern Europe.

The event opened with popular Life After PhD session. Four guests participated in a moderated discussion and shared valuable insights from their fascinating career paths, including problems they had to overcome and useful career transition tips. Among the invited speakers were Radan Spaventi – co-founder of Triadelta Partners, Alison Campbell – director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), Giedrius Gasiunas – founder and CSO of CasZyme and one of the leading cancer specialists in Europe and founder and CEO of Antegenes Peeter Padrik. The guests managed to keep the audience’s attention until the very end of the session and their words of wisdom have been quoted by the participants on Twitter. The session was attended by early-stage researchers from more than 30 different institutes across Europe and ended with a lively question and answer discussion.

Did you miss the Life After PhD session? Watch the recording HERE.

The next two sessions were aimed at offering future career options to ESRs and at connecting Alliance4Life´s members with the industry.  A variety of biotechnology companies introduced their work in short elevator pitches including possible career options for PhD graduates from the life science sector. The first day was closed with technology pitches of participating Alliance4Life partner institutions, who presented their core facilities, expertise and technology equipment. The pitching sessions covered contributions of eight companies and eleven Alliance4Life´s members.

Did you miss the pitches of the industry partners? Watch the recording HERE.

Did you miss the pitches of the Alliance4Life institutes? Watch the recording HERE.

The second day of the event provided interesting learning opportunities for early stage researchers. The first session introduced trends and traps when conducting research and communicating research results and addressed important issues such as ethics in research and medical professions. Professor Iuliana Ceausu introduced the most essential medical professionalism principles – altruism, accountability, excellence, duty, honour, integrity and respect for others, and emphasized the necessity of inducing them in the medical curricula for students, residents, PhD students and postgraduate continuing education.

The moderator of the session, professor Srećko Gajović, emphasized that inadequate publications harm the authors and the research community. He highlighted the need for increased research rigor. Science communication expert Ester Jarour pointed out that research doesn’t end with publishing the research results but any modern scientist should also communicate his research. Well-developed communication skills can be also very beneficial for advancing one´s research career and can result in finding suitable research collaborations.

Did you miss the Trends and Traps of Conducting Research panel discussion? Watch the recording HERE.

The last session was dedicated to funding opportunities for early stage researchers. An excellent presentation was delivered by an expert in preparing Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Jakub Zeman. He shared with the participants useful practical tips about grant writing, particularly about the postdoctoral MSCA Individual Fellowship grants. Raimonda Markevicienė from Vilnius University informed students about interesting mobility options including ERASMUS+ programme. This closing session was a teaser event, introducing a variety of interesting career development topics, that will be offered as part of the Alliance4Life skills academy.

Parallel to the Early Stage Researchers retreats the training workshop was organized for members of the Alliance4Life´s knowledge and technology transfer focus group. “The aim of the KTO professionals’ training was to gain deeper knowledge in technology transfer modes with particular focus on tips and tricks for spin-off foundation,” explained Dace Karkle, deputy director of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis based in Riga, which was the main organizer of the whole event. “Considering the long development cycle typical for innovations in the life sciences, spin-offs are one of the most appropriate channels to transfer the innovations born in the academic sector to the market. The excellent speakers from ASTP provided us with a set of relevant tools and knowledge to foster the start-up culture around academic partners of Alliance4Life, thus bringing us one step closer to bridging the innovation performance gap between Eastern and Western European countries, particularly in the Health domain,” added Dace Karkle.

“There is a lot of talent and motivation in our region”, said Zlata Novotná, Alliance4Life´s Coordinator. “With this event, Alliance4Life opened a series of training, retreats, and motivation-oriented events aimed at supporting the culture for excellence. We are here for all who want to deliver their best performance. Follow us, be inspired, use all opportunities and become part of the community that supports excellent, ethical, and valuable research”, added Zlata Novotná.     

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