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Special Sessions and Workshops

Skills, tips and careers

FEBS Special Session on Research and Career Skills Assessment of Research and Researchers

Sunday July 4 16:00–18:00; Organized by the FEBS Publications Committee

In recent years, the Journal Impact Factor has been used as a proxy to measure the impact of research and researchers. However, the JIF is a flawed metric when used for this purpose. The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is leading the way in changing the way the inputs of scholarly research are evaluated.  This session will start with short presentations on current academic reward systems and how they can be changed, followed by a panel discussion incorporating questions and comments from the audience.

•  Scientific impact and the quest for visibility, Ralitsa Madsen, UK
•  Current academic reward systems in relation to research integrity, László Fésüs, Hungary
•  Assessment of scientists for hiring, promotion, and tenure at German universities and research institutes, Michael Brunner, Germany
•  Assessing research outputs: alternatives to the Journal Impact Factor, Mary Purton, UK
•  Panel discussion

Structural Biology Publications How to improve results, presentation and write a better paper

Sunday July 4; 18:15–19:15

Structural Biology has played a central role in fueling the massive advances made by the life sciences. However, the quality of many publications in that field is far from optimal. While computer graphics software greatly aids in the understanding of the structures by displaying them in 3D, the pages of printed scientific journals flatten the structures to a 2D image, with much of the 3D information thus being lost. A number of journals, however, have begun to offer links to interactive 3D structure visualization, but these are often not utilized to their full potential. Thus, the goal of this workshop will be to discuss the best ways of describing structural information and avoiding common presentation mistakes. It will also introduce the participants to Proteopedia, a 3D interactive encyclopedia of biomacromolecular structure and function.

Chair: Alexander Wlodawer, USA 
Speakers: Alexander Wlodawer, USA;  Joel L. Sussman, Israel; Jaime Prilusky, Israel

FEBS Research and Careers Skills Workshop – Networking for scientists: reasons, reservations, reinventions 

Tuesday July 6; 18:15–19:15; Organized by the FEBS Network Working Group

In this workshop, two short talks – on 'What role does and should networking play in science?' (from Isabel Varela Nieto, Spain) and 'The pandemic and networking – what did we learn and what can we keep?' (from Andrea Bellelli, Italy) will be followed by small-group discussions on aspects of networking to allow active participation of those who attend the session. The session will be in Zoom Meetings with use of breakout rooms and polling. Come and join us!


Tuesday July 6; 19:15–20:15; Organized by the FEBS Working Group on the Careers of Young Scientists

We cordially invite especially PhD students and postdocs to take part in this special session, which will be held as a Zoom meeting aiming at those who want to learn more about the activities of the FEBS Working Group on the Careers of Young Scientists, and particularly the annual FEBS Young Scientists' Forum (YSF). After an introduction to the Group's activities, we will share recollections from previous YSF events, and also present opportunities to participate in next year's YSF, which FEBS is supporting with IUBMB and PABMB ahead of the joint IUBMB–FEBS–PABMB Congress in Lisbon, Portugal. There will also be an interactive quiz for prizes!

Speakers: Irene Diaz-Moreno, Spain; Vlastimil Kulda, Czech Republic; Anna Jagusiak, Poland; Maja Katalinic, Croatia; Ana Salomé Veiga, Portugal

European Research Council Session

Thursday July 8; 9:00–10:00

The European Research Council (ERC) is an EU funding agency that supports excellent ground-breaking research across all fields and aims to push forward the frontiers of knowledge. Funding is available for all scientists working in the EU or in a country associated with Horizon 2020 or, after 2021, the Horizon Europe Framework Programme. The session will present the funding schemes offered by the ERC (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy grants) and details about the evaluation process. Practical information on how to draft your next proposal and apply for funding will be provided. The session will include time for Q&As with the audience.

Chair: Israel Pecht, Israel
Speaker: How to apply for your next ERC grant, Philippe Cupers, Belgium

Societal issues

FEBS Special Session on Science & Society – Plastics: revolution, pollution and substitution 

Monday July 5; 16:00–18:00; Organized by the FEBS Science and Society Committee

Plastics are incredibly useful materials, but the amount produced has exceeded society’s ability to manage them effectively at the end of their life cycle. Most plastics have low recycling rates and do not degrade in an acceptable time span. The issue of discarded plastics and marine pollution is top of the political agenda and there is increasing pressure for researchers, business and governments to work together to solve this problem. Bioplastics cover a range of biological based materials which are being developed with different environmental outcomes in mind, including the substitution of fossil fuels and post-use environmental impact.

Chairs: Emmanouil Fragkoulis, Greece; Raffaele Porta, Italy
• Introduction, Raffaele Porta, Italy
• From plastics to microplastics and organisms, Oliver Bajt, Slovenia
The transition from plastics to bioplastics: an opportunity to reconnect global growth with sustainability, Paola Fabbri, Italy
Active biopackaging produced from byproducts and wastes from food and marine industries, Frederic Debeaufort, France

FEBS Special Session on Gender Issues in Science 

Monday July 5; 16:00–18:00

Women and men should have the same opportunities across all science disciplines. Different careers are possible – e.g. academia, industry – but we have always to address gender issues if we want to ensure diversity to support the quality of research and innovation. A culture of collaboration implies the inclusion of both men and women solving problems facing society. The session will present and discuss how we can avoid discrimination and significantly contribute to the progress of science.

Chair: Cecilia Arraiano, Portugal
From the bench to the boardroom: lessons learned, Michele Swanson, USA
Women in science: Is positive discrimination the right decision?, Carme Gallego, Spain
Women in Science across Europe North/West,South/East: Different backgrounds, same challenges, Jerka Dumić, Croatia

European initiatives

European Research Infrastructure and Initiatives Session

Sunday July 4; 18:15–19:15

Two EU platforms with ambition to join the resources and to foster collaboration between life scientists in Europe will be presented. EU-PEARL wants to transform the current siloed approach to single-compound clinical trials into a cross-company collaborative, multi-compound platform that will centre the clinical study on patients, not on molecules. Patient-centric personalised data and knowledge sharing will accelerate and reduce the costs of clinical trials, and thereby improve societal access to timely and affordable medicines. Clinical trials will be more patient friendly by design and patient focused by outcome. ELIXIR unites Europe’s leading life science organisations in managing and safeguarding the increasing volume of data being generated by publicly funded research. It coordinates, integrates and sustains bioinformatics resources across its member states and enables users in academia and industry to access services that are vital for their research.

Chair: Irena Mlinarič Raščan, Slovenia
EU-PEARL: Changing the paradigm of clinical trials in Europe, Lucinda Cash-GibsonSpain
ELIXIR: A distributed infrastructure for life-science information, Andrew Smith, UK

Teaching  and learning

FEBS/IUBMB Special Sessions on Education 

Session 1 – Learning and the brain: Translating the science of learning to educational practice
Tuesday July 6; 16:00–18:00; Organized by the FEBS and IUBMB Education Committees

Cognitive science research on learning and instruction is often not directly connected to classroom practices. In an effort to narrow this gap, this session will highlight recent research on learning principles, such as active retrieval, spaced learning, and dual coding, and discuss how this research can be translated to educational practice. For example, even though re-reading gives students a false impression that they know the test material, cognitive science research suggests that active retrieval, rather than re-reading, leads to better learning outcomes. In this session, we will discuss both the opportunities and the challenges in implementing this research in undergraduate life science classrooms.

Chair: Ferhan Sağın, Turkey
• Exploring new horizons in education: using multiple pathways to enhance and energize science instruction, Janet Zadina, USA
• Implementing cognitive science and discipline-based education research in the undergraduate science classroom, Ido Davidesco, USA
• Q&A

Session 2 – You should... I should… Let’s clarify our roles and responsibilities in PhD education
Wednesday July 7; 16:30–18:30; Organized by the FEBS and IUBMB Education Committees

Improving the communication between all sides and setting the expectations, roles and responsibilities are clearly the key elements for a better PhD education. In this session, we will provide an open forum to listen to both sides of the story with the hope to improve communication between supervisors and students. The session will focus on the roles and responsibilities, stress the areas of agreement and disagreement, and propose suggestions for a better graduate education.

Chairs: Jerka Dumić, Croatia; Jason Perret, Belgium
• Expectations of professionalism in doctoral education in an ever-changing academic world, Robert Harris, Sweden
• The postdoc experience - hopes, fears, expectations and reality, Geula Hanin, UK
• Panel discussion

FEBS has twin commitments to high-quality publications and the promotion of molecular biosciences. As a charitable academic organization,
FEBS uses income from the journals to fund its diverse activities, including support for the FEBS Congress.