AGEM retreat 2019

We keep on growing! 

The goal of the AGEM retreat is to discuss, share and learn from each other’s research. Mixing AGEM retreat customs with new ideas, definitely resulted in successfully obtaining this AGEM vision. We can look back on a fantastic AGEM retreat for the year 2019.

This year, not only PhD students but also postdocs could participate, resulting in over 100 attendees. As a new addition to classical presentations and elevator pitches, participants could give dual presentations e.g. to combine data with a direct colleague from their research group or a collaborator. Combined, this resulted in the 100+ participants sharing and discussing their recent findings on a variety of interesting and diverse topics within the fields of gastroenterology, endocrinology and metabolism.

Adding to the above, our keynote speakers invited us to engage in discussing their research experiences and views. Prof. dr. Lisbeth Mathus-Vliegen shared with us the experience she gained of over 30 years of working with patients with obesity, as well as her perspective of how research & treatment should be continued. Prof. dr. Aart Jan van der Lely talked about the adverse effects of sugar consumption. On Friday, our ‘out of the box speaker’ Gerko Tempelman challenged us to become aware of what we believe in, during his talk about religion and whether it can be cured.

Prof. dr. Lisbeth Mathus-Vliegen

Prof. dr. Aart Jan van der Lely

Gerko Tempelman

To continue the spirit of last year, this years’ retreat was also themed: “The year you were born”. Participants could enjoy a very nice dinner, combined with some small facts about their birth year, which was provided with their seating arrangement. Ideal to break the ice, if need be. After dinner, laughing and relaxing was stimulated by a hilarious improv-show by BOOM Chicago. To get to know each other even better, and stimulate teambuilding, the evening entertainment continued with a music quiz, supported with and followed by live music, where everybody excelled in their outfits and dance moves. It was incredible to see the great effort participants had made to match their outfits to the retreat’s theme.  

Another novelty this year was the opportunity for participants to follow workshops. Thursday included workshops to develop skills important during a PhD: ‘Scientific outreach and how to use it for public awareness’, ‘Grant writing for PhDs,’ and ‘Leading in different situations’ i.e. to provide constructive feedback. On Friday, workshops were provided to help participants (to think about the time) after their PhD: ‘Uncovering your professional value as a PhD graduate’, from ‘PhD to consultancy, ‘Inside vs outside academia: careers of PhDs’ and ‘Commercializing technology’.    According to the positive feedback, the workshops were a great success.   

As in previous years, Friday morning started with a revitalizing bootcamp, and could later be further energized by a coffee tasting workshop. Furthermore, time was scheduled for participants to fill out a digital questionnaire, by which the first perception of attendees could directly be presented at the end of the meeting. Together with more detailed, open questions participants filled out on paper questioners, this will help us to improve the AGEM retreat for next year.

Last but not least we would like to congratulate those who won an award:

Marit Navis for best classical presentation, Koen wortelboer for best pitch, Job Saris for most contributing participant and Marte Becker for best party outfit

Thank you all for making this a great AGEM retreat 2019. We look forward to seeing you again, and welcoming new participants in 2020!