PhD trip. What? Why? Where?

Welcome to my 9th blog for the FoodSmartphone project! This time I would like to talk about the PhD trip that I undertook with my fellow PhD student colleagues and academic staff members from the laboratory of Organic Chemistry at Wageningen University. In previous blogs, I have mentioned that, I am employed by Aquamarijn Micro Filtration BV and at the same time I’m a PhD student at Wageningen University. So this trip was rather focused on experiencing the academic side of my career journey.

The PhD trip is a bi-annual event which has brought PhD students of Organic Chemistry all around the world. The goal of the trip is scientific networking, building bridges of collaboration and of course gaining experience in organizing such an endeavor. The PhD trip is organized by PhDs for PhDs. So, what does that mean in practice? It means that all funds necessary for the trip is gathered and searched for by the PhD students. Also, all organizational aspects of the trip are the full responsibility of the PhD students, like accommodation, food, scientific meetings and seminars. It is a tough task to undertake. Despite that all PhDs participate, we elected a committee for the trip that takes care of the main burden of organizing and managing PhD trip. The PhD committee of this trip was led by Ian, Jordi, Sevil and Milou who have done a tremendous amount of work to make this trip happen. The first things that we do for the PhD trip is decide on a location. This year, we decided to travel to Israel. The country famous for its innovation and high level of scientific investigation (and hummus).

The hardest task during the preparation of the PhD trip is gathering funds and convincing companies to sponsor you. We have contacted numerous companies trying to convince them that having outreach and advertisement via our PhD trip is good investment from their side. My employer Aquamarijn Micro Filtration BV was also a sponsor of the trip.

After the budget is finalized the next task is to determine which groups and universities to visit. Some of our academic staff members have spent time in Israel during their academic career and advised us on interesting groups, institutes and universities to visit. In the end we choose to visit the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (group Prof. Itamar Wilner), the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot (group Prof. Milko van der Boom) and attend a one day conference at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev (group Prof. Chris Arnusch). We also visited one of our sponsors in Israel, namely ICL, the biggest producer of bromine and brominated compounds in the world.

During the trip we presented our research and learned about the research of the groups that we visited. We visited labs and learned about the equipment and techniques that other groups use. The main reason for this PhD trip was to build bridges between research groups and from that come up with new research ideas.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Till next time!

Also Thank you to sponsors of this PhD trip to Israel!


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