ECR Club Kick off Social Lunch

ECR Social Lunch 3rd July 2020 12-1pm report by Jonathan Temple

The Early Career Researcher (ECR) social lunch was kicked off in a virtual session by a warm welcome by Dr. Bhumika Singh, the 3DbioNet manager, who introduced the ECR events organising committee to the participants. Currently, the committee members are Dr Caroline Taylor, University of Sheffield, Jonathan Temple, University of Liverpool and Sebastian Gilbert, University of Birmingham. Caroline outlined the aims of the session, and the overall aims of the ECR club.

Following a quick round of introduction from all the participants, we were split into two break out rooms for smaller discussion groups. Break out room 1 contained Sebastian Gilbert, Jonathan Temple, Manohar Prasad, Dr Rania Deranieh and Dr Pilar Aced: 1 Independent researcher, 1 PDRA and 3 PhD students with their year of study ranging from 1st to 4th year. Break out room 2 consisted of Dr Caroline Taylor, Dr Vijay Raghavendran, Dr Edi Tanase and Joseph Barnes: 2 PDRAs, 1 research fellow and 1 first year PhD student.

The discussion room atmosphere was very relaxed and it was soon apparent the groups contained people with a broad range of interests. From biomaterials for bone-assist medical implants and electrospun scaffolds for hepatotoxicity testing to oxygen level detecting biomolecules and pancreas and liver cell experts. The discussion was broad and everyone had lots to offer and even though highly varied, there was plenty of shared experience or interest in other people’s areas of research. We also found out there were plenty of keen bakers among us who had been baking up a storm during lockdown as well as others who loved being outdoors or playing various sports.

Next, it was time to discuss what people wanted from the network and how the network could help them. The discussion was informative and with a variety of input, people suggested coming together to discuss protocols and making standardised protocols along with other problems faced in the field. People who are new to the field or early in their career were keen to meet others in the field; possibly find collaborators, or even find experts in a different field to seek help. Many were also interested in the prospect of hearing from experts in different fields and industries on career progression and development. We received great feedback on what our attendees want from the committee and it will enable us to tailor our sessions to our members.

We finished the session with feedback from each room and the results of our online form before Caroline gave some concluding remarks. The first session was an exciting start for our ECR sessions and we had a number of PDRAs, PhD students and other ECRs from all over the country including The University of Liverpool, The University of Nottingham, The University of Sheffield, The University of Birmingham and University College London. We as the ECR committee now have a clearer direction and indication of the needs of our members. We are extremely looking forward to our future sessions and hope to see you there.

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