News / 3 July 2018

Students awarded EMBL Australia travel grants say their international trips led to postdoctoral job offers and enhanced their research, networks and collaboration opportunities.

Simon Hardwick – a PhD student at the Garvan Institute and a former member of the EMBL Australia Postgraduate Symposium organising committee – attended the EMBL Non-Coding Symposium in Heidelberg and said, as well as being inspired by the new, unpublished research presented at the conference, he discussed his work with young researchers with a view to future collaborations, met laboratory heads and experts in the field and met with editors of several leading scientific journals. Mr Hardwick said highlights of his trip included discussing his work with “scientific hero and role model” Professor Jennifer Doudna (co-discoverer of CRIPSR-Cas9 genome editing) and meeting Nature Reviews Genetics chief editor Dr Linda Koch, who hand-delivered him a hardcopy of the recent journal issue in which he’d had a review article published (pictured below).

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute PhD student Natasha Jansz presented her work for critical feedback at EMBL’s Chromatin and Epigenetics Meeting in Heidelberg last year to­ international leaders in the field. Following the conference, she presented her work at the Helmholtz Institute in Munich, the Crick Institute in London, the Blizard Instituted in London, Cambridge University, the Institute of Human Genetics in Montpellier and the Curie Institute in Paris. She received five job offers for postdoctoral positions as a result of the trip. Ms Jansz says she received excellent feedback on the two projects she presented, which informed subsequent experiments, and was encouraged to publish her data. She says the EMBL Australia travel grant “made this trip possible, which has been beneficial for my current research, influencing how I publish and subsequent experiments and resulted in job offers for when I complete my PhD”.

Xiaochen Fan, a PhD student at the University of Sydney’s Children’s Medical Research Institute, presented her work as a poster at EMBL Heidelberg and received valuable feedback from bioinformaticians worldwide. “On the same trip, I also had two interviews in Boston in the US and got a postdoc job offer,” she said. “In general, the outcome of this trip went beyond my expectation and has been the best experience during my PhD training.”

We recently awarded 10 travel grants of $2000 each to students attending conferences, short courses or training at one of EMBL’s six European facilities later this year. Applications for travel grants to attend the 20th EMBL PhD Symposium in Germany (22 - 24 November 2018) are now open.