VIBes in Biosciences 2017: Science, fun, and heaps of networking

8 March 2018
​On September 27-29, over 150 Belgian and international PhD students gathered in Ghent for VIBes in Biosciences, a VIB-funded symposium organized by a team of enthusiastic VIB PhD students.

On the first afternoon of the symposium, several workshops by training agencies True Colours, Summersault, Braingain and The Floor is Yours helped the students improve their time management, presentation and networking skills, preparing them for life after graduation. What followed in the next two days was an
inspiring showcase of science at its best: renowned researchers, such as Ruedi Aebersold, Jeff Lichtman, Carl-Henrik Heldin and Christine Winterbourne, shed their light on topics ranging from plant science to human behavior, and everything in between. Bart De Strooper (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research)
and Savvas Savvides (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) proudly presented the breakthrough research at VIB, while numerous other international scientists demonstrated their efforts in big data management, innovative imaging techniques, proteomics and intricate molecular mechanisms.

Work hard, play harder
Wrapping up the first day of workshops, Cedric Dumont, full time Red Bull Athlete, drew some surprising parallels between extreme sports and science. Driven by his own experience travelling the world in search of new adventures and challenging projects, he encouraged all the participants to live in the moment and push their limits. After all, he claims, greatness begins beyond your comfort zone.

Mixed with the science, there was play time: during a brewery visit, conference dinner and party, the students chatted with each other and with the international speakers, building a network for their future lives as scientists. Iryna Voytyuk (VIBKU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research), co-organizer of VIBes, went home with a light and warm heart: “The symposium was an unforgettable and rewarding experience. I hope VIBes in Biosciences can continue to connect and inspire young, talented scientists in the years to come.”

“I was amazed by the versatile, interesting and motivating topics tackled at the VIBes in Biosciences conference. The impressive presentations resembled TED talks, and the workshops made me realize that I
am not alone in my problems. Events like these, where everyone gets to share knowledge and experiences, are essential for the PhD community.” 
One of the many positive responses from our anonymous survey.​

Rocco Stirparo, Harmonie Etienne, Ludger Goeminne, Marleen Vanstraelen, Yessica Wouters, Evi De Keuckelaere, Marlies Vanden Bempt, Jaana van Gastel,
Aleksandra Lewandowska, Jessica Vetters, Jolien Bridelance, Maria Tossounian, Iryna Voytyuk, Yannick Vervoort, Nandita Bodra and Halina Novak.