In 2017 four research institutes in Europe received funding from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme to set up an annual symposium for four years – ENABLE (European Academy for Biomedical Science). It would combine research talks, a career day, and outreach activities, and be organized ‘by young scientists for young scientists’, with leadership from a committee of PhD students and postdocs, including basic, applied and clinical scientists in training.
The initiative’s aims were to support young researchers, strengthen scientific careers, and bring biomedicine closer to society. Importantly, the event also provided a unique opportunity to immerse young researchers in organizational and project management skills, allowing them to gain valuable experience.
The organizing centers were the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) in Barcelona, Spain; the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS) in Nijmegen, The Netherlands; the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (CPR) in Copenhagen, Denmark; and the Scuola Europea di Medicina Molecolare (SEMM), in Milan, Italy. They were supported by a science communication agency (Scienseed).
The institutions took turns to host the event: Barcelona in 2017, Copenhagen in 2018, Nijmegen in 2019, and online in Milan in 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
The conferences have a scientific symposium covering a wide range of topics. They mix talks from key scientists and young researchers, providing opportunities to interact. Career and outreach activities are also built in, with representatives from career paths other than research giving workshops to widen the employment horizon of young scientists. And opportunities to reach out to the public abound, from interactive activities in schools to public discussions and pub talks.
With the postponed Milan conference accomplished by spring 2021, thoughts turned to how to support future events. FEBS and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) had previously sponsored travel grants for ENABLE. Appreciating the value of the initiative, they have now joined forces to fund the organization of the annual events from 2022 to 2025. The initiative was driven by the FEBS Working Group on the Careers of Young Scientists, a group that is also responsible for overseeing the organization of the annual FEBS Young Scientists' Forum.
To enrich the event, FEBS, IUBMB and the core research institutes of ENABLE are inviting new academic institutions to host the event each year. Events will be held in Europe, except for the 2024 conference, will be hosted by an institution outside Europe. The first edition of the FEBS-IUBMB-ENABLE Symposium will be held in November 2022.
Universities or research institutions with a strong research background in molecular life sciences in Europe and an active PhD community are invited to apply to host the 2022 event. FEBS and IUBMB will fund the event up to a sum of €65,000. The successful new host will become an associated institute in the project for the 2022 event and organize the event in collaboration with the four core institutions.
If your institution has the characteristics to be an ideal host of the 2022 FEBS-IUBMB-ENABLE Symposium, we encourage them to apply. You can read more about the FEBS-IUBMB-ENABLE conference series and download the application documents from the FEBS website. You can access information on the 2022 conference here.
The deadline for applications is 15 September 2021.
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