While my friends and family were enjoying Thanksgiving and shopping on Black Friday, I was having my own fun. I was at a PhD student retreat learning about other students research and having a great time. The RIHS PhD council planned a two day retreat that involved oral and poster presentations, keynote lecture, time to debate and social events.
The RIHS PhD council deserves a lot of credit for planning, organizing and running such a successful event. The first day there were oral presentations and a keynote speaker. The keynote speaker was Dr. Andre Knottnerus who is the Chair of the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) in the Netherlands. He gave a great talk about what he does and how as future researchers we can help. There was discussion about the current system that exists for tenure and how the focus is on funding and publications. Also, we discussed how media and social media can affect how the public is informed.
After the dinner and the keynote speaker, we headed down stairs at the hotel for a pubquiz. I am sad to say, my team didnt win. It was a lot of fun getting know the other PhD students at the medical center.
The next day was filled with more oral presentations and two rounds of poster sessions. The posters session involved 5-6 posters in which each person would present for 5 minutes and then answer questions for 5 minutes. The conference was around 40-45 PhD students so it allowed for more interaction. The final part was a debate with all the students. The debate was led by Professor Bart Kiemeney, who is the Scientific director of RIHS. He would put a few sentences up on the screen and then everyone needed to decide if they agree or disagree. One topic was that it should be mandatory for a PhD student go abroad for 6 months. Another one was that three first author papers are needed to graduate. It was very interesting how people had very different views and their arguments. I really enjoyed how everyone could share their opinion and not take it personally.
My friend, Priyanka, from my lab won for the award for best presentation. She did a great job explaining finite element modeling to a more clinically oriented group of people.
Overall, I really enjoyed the RIHS PhD student retreat. The student council that planned it did a fantastic job.