The main focus of the 5th INITIATE meeting, which took place in Dublin, was on the progress made by the ESRs. This time ESRs presented proposed displayed items of a draft manuscripts and received feedback from the PIs from the network. One full day was dedicated to future career paths. During the first day of the meeting, seven ESRs presented their draft manuscripts,. Alongside with the presentations, each of them received a personal feedback from their supervisory team. In the evening all participants gathered for lovely sighting and a dinner organized by Prof. Andrew Bowie.
The second day focused on the last 7 presentations by the ESRs and their face-to-face meetings with supervisory teams. At the end of the day, members of the Supervisory Board held their SB meeting. During this discussion the SB members received updates from the project’s Committees, discussed upcoming reports and brainstormed about the final INITIATE meeting. The evening finished informally with pizza, beer and open conversations between ESRs and consortium members.
The third day of this meeting was dedicated to final presentations by the ESRs on their finalized “Societal Impact of Knowledge projects. The aim of these projects was to have the ESRs gain knowledge and expertise about science-based entrepreneurship and the approach to translate scientific knowledge to translational research. The ESRs worked in three groups for developing a business plan. Each group presentated their projects during 20 minutes, after which a 25 minutes Q&A discussion followed. This session was facilitated by Dr. Linda van de Burgwal from Sovalacc. The ESRs highly appreciated those skills that taught them to think and behave entrepreneurially and to evaluate opportunities for further development of academic results. They also mentioned that such transferable skills would be valuable for either an industrial career or an career in academia.
The day was finished by a career workshop, where several scientists with different career paths gave a presentation, and a round table discussion on gender specific career path issues. During this workshop the ESRs heard and learned from TCD’s alumni’s about different possibilities to persue a career: academic, industrial, grant writing etc.
Overall, the ESRs, PIs, members of SB and guest speakers were happy to meet in person again. Everybody underscored that a face-to-face meeting supports personal connections and networks build during the INITIATE project. A lot of participants expressed an opinion that it will continue after the official end of the program.