Young Life Scientists Austria (YLSA): creating an early-career researcher community

Here’s an example of how early-stage researchers can contribute to new tailored activities at learned societies. And YLSA invite you to their current career events!  
Young Life Scientists Austria (YLSA): creating an early-career researcher community

Young Life Scientists Austria (YLSA) is the bottom-up initiative of the Austrian Association of Molecular Life Sciences and Biotechnology (ÖGMBT), from and for young scientists. YLSA was founded in 2016 by ÖGMBT PhD students. Due to constant effort, YLSA has established a network among young life scientists and companies and is organised in four Austrian branches – North, South, West and East – thus facilitating local meet ups. Currently, the ÖGMBT has about 550 student members and the official YLSA Facebook webpage is about 360 people strong. We are also closely connected to the YLSA equivalents in Germany and Switzerland and aim to develop even stronger links in the future. The main intention of YLSA is to provide a network in which students and young life scientists find similar minded people and can freely talk about projects, lab-troubleshooting and possible collaborations or simply have a good time together. Common social activities involve annual Christmas market visits or regulars’ tables where we meet once a month on a fixed day of the week for dinner or just a drink or two.

In addition, YLSA provides access to different types of career-oriented activities. YLSA thereby addresses questions such as "which positions outside academia do I qualify for with a life science degree?" or "how do I get in touch with people doing this job?" In order to get qualified answers, we are closely collaborating with professionals inside  industry and academia, which has led to events such as ‘out of the box’ talks where invited speakers give insights into their real work-life and are available for Q&A afterwards. Another more comprehensive format are our career days where we aim to bundle different speakers from a variety of life science fields at one event location. In our experience, this format is a great chance to have inter-profession insights and is very stimulating also for the speakers!

If you want to get an impression of our events, our next event “Life Beyond Academia – Pharma edition” will take place virtually via Zoom on the 10th of November 2020 (17:00–19:00h) and is free to all participants worldwide; all information including the link will be available on our Facebook page two days prior to the event. It’s suitable for people who are considering career paths outside of academia but are not sure which direction to pursue. Experts from the human resources department of the biggest pharma company in Austria, TAKEDA, will help to screen your CV and give you valuable feedback for a future job interview and learn about transferable skills. This is of great interest especially for postdocs who want to switch to industry as they often undervalue their highly wanted skills such as problem-solving, flexibility or resilience to name a few. Furthermore, pharma professionals will share their career paths and provide key tips & tricks and main insights they have learned over the years.

YLSA is also present at the annual ÖGMBT meeting which is currently being held virtually every Tuesday for the next 5 months. This virtual format gives now researches worldwide the opportunity to participate and connect with other researchers very easy The sessions are streamed live via YouTube or can be watched afterwards:

We from YLSA are present every other Tuesday (20.10, 3-11.;..) at our virtual booth at the Life Science Career Fair where you can also get in touch with leading life science companies from Austria – don’t be shy; visit us and chat with us we will be very happy to meet you.

Felix Locker, YLSA Speaker
University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna