Connecting the Young Scientists

Friday the 13th of September: It was early in the evening. Where most of the traffic was moving out of the Leibniz institute… there was a smaller stream of inward bound bodies.  These were the so described “enthusiastic neuroscientists with a little extra time” (underlined because, lets face it, finding time is VERY difficult).

This was because today is the kick off meeting for the young neuroscientist association of Germany (jNWG). A band made up of everything from students to fresh postdocs and everything in between, all with the common goal of organizing a society to nurture and network up-and-coming neuroscientists.

No small feat by any stretch of the imagination, but this is where the help of some of Magdeburg’s own were put on display. Talks and inspiring presentations were given from Ekhart Gundelfinger, Matthias Prigge, and Esther Kühn. Each one with unique perspectives and encouraging advice that gave insight on the basics of building a career in neuroscience.

Getting started in Neuroscience can be daunting. Figuring out how to make a living, fund your research, or build a career are all areas of advice desperately needed for the young scientist. Prof. Dr. Ekhart Gundelfinger demonstrated how important it was to build up professional relationships and presented the struggle of deciding when to stay or accept the next promotion.

Dr. Matthias Prigge gave us a young group leader’s perspective from his gap year exploring to his successes and networks that propelled him forward to lead TeamPrigge at the LIN in Magdeburg.

Where as, Dr. Esther Kuehn showed us that a career in Neuroscience doesn’t have to be limited to only research. Showing how she has built a very successful media and scientific writing, editing, and journalism career. Encouraging us all to incorporate our other passions into our work life.

It is because of organizations like the jNWG that these would-be-researchers are able to connect and learn from these experts, but also forge friendships and professional relationships with their fellow soon to be scientists. Finding your local or national neuroscience organization may be just the thing to launch your career in Neuroscience!

A special thanks to Andreas “Andy” Ritzau-Jost for the use of the photos taken at the jNWG kick off meeting. As well as to Sophie Seidenbecher, Ayse Maraslioglu, and Andy for the organization and motivation to build a chapter of the NWG dedicated to new scientists. It was also great to see the support from Prof. Albert Christian Ludolph (president of NWG) and Prof. Christine Rose (VP of NWG) in this inaugural kick off meeting.