At their first meeting in Greece on 21-22 April, seventeen EMBL alumni discussed ways to inspire young scientists in their country. In the beautiful setting of Dilofo, Ioannina, attendees gave short presentations on their current scientific work, and summarised their professional and personal lives since leaving EMBL.
The most important outcome of the meeting was the decision to hold local chapter meetings in Greece twice a year. Firstly, in May, an informal gathering in Difolo will allow alumni and members of their research groups to discuss their projects with others. As one of the goals is to inspire young scientists, it was agreed that graduate students and postdocs would be encouraged to attend this meeting.
A second meeting later in the year will accompany the annual conference of the Hellenic Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (HSBMB), which is normally held in November and alternates between Athens and other major Greek university cities. The Greek alumni agreed to invite EMBO Members and Young Investigators working in Greece to present talks and discuss their work with young scientists at this satellite meeting, which would be open to all attendees of the HSBMB conference.
As in many chapter meetings, the seventeen Greek alumni also concentrated on career development and repatriation problems after leaving EMBL, and how to retain their links to the Laboratory and its services. And, like many alumni, they are keen to improve science in their own country, considering how to get involved as a group in influencing the education system in Greece. With the plan now to meet twice annually, they are likely to make great progress.
Organiser: Anastasia Politou
Report: Caroline Hadley