Over 35 young scientists from the WCMR, including Undergraduate students, Masters students and PhD students, came together last month for a session on creative problem solving. This was one of the regular Young Scientist Meetings designed to develop and support early career researchers within the Centre. These meetings are organised and led by the young scientists themselves and provide a fantastic opportunity for them to get together, discuss their research and build collaborations.
WCMR PhD students Jack Collier, Megan McNiff, Ruth Glasgow (pictured), Gareth Ettridge and Polly Usher are currently leading on the organisation of these meetings, which have included a previous session on student well-being and the importance of work-life balance when completing a PhD. This month’s session included a ‘lab calculations clinic’ with practical questions that required teams to apply scientific calculations often used in research, followed by a fun problem-solving activity (involving spaghetti and marshmallows!) designed to get everyone ‘thinking outside the box’. Teams were then given the task of describing real-world problems before debating and solving them.
When asked about the Young Scientist Meeting, PhD student Matthew Hunt said, “The meeting was a huge success. Not only did it refresh everyone’s basic lab skills, but it also gave the new students an opportunity to integrate with everyone else in the Centre”.
Jack Collier highlighted the importance of these meetings, which allow everyone to get together and help build a real sense of community within the Wellcome Centre. They also provide an opportunity to discuss topics not normally discussed within the weekly WCMR ‘Research in Progress’ meetings. Jack pointed out that because the meeting is in a relaxed, student-led environment, it enables everyone to get involved. He said, “Overall, beyond hoping to help students develop as scientists, we feel that these meetings are great for developing a feeling of togetherness”. Centre Director, Prof Sir Doug Turnbull, echoed this by saying, “The Young Scientists Meetings are an excellent opportunity for our early career researchers to interact in a more relaxed environment and to share ideas and experiences”.