The INITIATE Kick-off Meeting was held on January 20th-24th, 2020 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This meeting brought together all participants of INITIATE in a week of workshops, training, and networking.
On Monday the 20th of January the Early Stage Researchers (ESR) and the Principal Investigators (PI) of the respective partners in the consortium, were welcomed at the Erasmus Medical Centre (EMC) by the organisers. The first day was planned to familiarise all members of the consortium to the partners as well as the tasks required by the program. The committees, Personal Career Development Plans (PCDP), training and events included in INITIATE were introduced in detail. At the end of the day, the Supervisory Board (SB) Meeting and a networking activity for the ESRs were carried out in parallel.
On Tuesday the 21st, the day began with a brief introduction of the background of each ESR. Following, the Outreach committee and the Young Research Council were established to enable the ESRs to report any inconveniences to the SB. Along the day, the ESRs discussed the projects with their respective supervisor and co-supervisors, becoming a fruitful exercise for the ESRs in terms of inputs and ideas from experienced researchers. In the afternoon, a workshop on virology was held with open assistance. This training included introductory talks on RNA viruses and their interaction with innate immunity pathways relevant for the consortium.
On Wednesday the 22nd, an intensive workshop on Immunometabolism was held also with open access to members of the Molecular Medicine School of Erasmus MC. This full day of training included up to eleven presentations from the leading researchers in the field.The lectures were alternated with profitable breaks that were used for networking.
On Thursday the 23rd, the morning was focused in a workshop on the Academia/Industry interface. Here, the ESRs learned about the importance of designing translational research projects. On the same line, the groups for the Social Impact of Knowledge were established and the ESRs had the opportunity to design and plan the KnowP projects, as established by the INITIATE proposal. The afternoon included two different workshops on Dissemination and Public Engagement, held by a representative of Elsevier and the Head of Communications of EMC, respectively.
On Friday the 24th, the ESRs visited the Janssen Vaccines & Therapeutics facilities in Leiden. There, they received formation on the pipeline of vaccine development and learnt about the current research on vaccines that are predicted to reach the market in the upcoming years. A networking session with R+D workers of Janssen was organized, so ESRs could consult one-to-one enquiries about the research performed in the industrial sector. Finally, the ESRs received a tour around some of the Janssen’s small-scale production laboratories.
Overall, the feedback from the ESRs and PIs about the Kick-Off meeting was positive. The excellent atmosphere during the networking events and the well-established interaction between the YRC and the SB, enabled constructive feedback to be recorded and will be used to improve further Networking meetings as stated in the proposal.
You can find the pictures from the meeting here: