Back from the JUniors Researchers’ Assembly
From the 11th to the 13th of September, thirty-three PhD students and postdocs, members or associates of PlanetS met together in an hotel in Les Rasses – Ste Croix near Yverdon. They participated in the first JURA: JUniors Researchers’ Assembly.
This new tool created by the NCCR PlanetS is an effort to strengthen the interactions amongst early-career scientists. Thus, this meeting was entirely focused on PhD students and early-career postdocs from PlanetS, enabling them to present their work and stimulate discussions as well as new collaborations. A second aim of this JURA was to give an opportunity to young researchers to get insights on the process of organising such a meeting. The task of organizing this meeting was given to seven volunteering PhD students from various institutes of PlanetS. They had liberty to decide multiple aspects of this meeting, from location, time and duration, to content, with the only constraint of a given budget.
After few months of preparation, the foreseen day of the 11th of September was there! Thirty-three participants, coming from the universities of Bern, Geneva and Zürich met in Grand-Hôtel des Rasses in Sainte-Croix. After a few introduction words and a lunch, the meeting was kicked-off by Nadine Afram from the Academic Platform for a Professional Development workshop about career anchors, in order for the participants to determine the most important aspects in their work, their strength and weakness to develop. It was followed by a poster session and science talks on the thematic of protoplanetary discs.
The next day morning was started with some science talks about solar system and instrumentation, as well as a poster session. Just after it, we had a special guest in the presence of Kathrin Altwegg, PI of ROSINA instrument on the Rosetta mission. She delivered precious advice to all the participants, both on science and personal life, as well as an overview of the history of the mission. A greatly appreciated talk from the participants, that was, as one said « both fascinating + inspiring ».
The afternoon was then free for people to talk and get to know each others, starting with an open forum on working condition and perspective on the future for young scientists, what are the problems linked to that and that are encountered in science research, and how it can be resolved… if possible. Finally, the last day was dedicated to science talks, with a session on planet characterisation, and the second on observational techniques.
For all the participants, the JURA was a good experience. It was helpful to many, allowing the newcomers to discover PlanetS for example, or the others to get more insight on other juniors’ works. From the organisation side, it was also a great experience to discover the tips and tricks to organise such a meeting, a valuable experience for future work. (Thibaut Roger)