Please find below a message from María del Mar Vivanco, reporting about our latest meeting held at Bilbao last September 7th.
Iberic Chapter Meeting, Bilbao, September 7th: Some Conclusions.
[from an e-mail written by María del Mar Vivanco]
All the participants in the last EMBL Alumni meeting in Bilbao were sorry that you could not make it. However, I thought that you may like to hear that the meeting worked out very well. In principle 30 people had agreed to participate although at the last minute 9 people had to cancel for different reasons.
On Friday 7th we enjoyed a lovely sunny day, excellent scientific presentations with lots of questions and an intense but productive (we hope!) discussion about different Alumni issues. I am enclosing a summary of some of the topics discussed (fyi) and our suggestions to try and improve the situation. [NB: please read the document appended below]
Afterwards we had a great visit to the Guggenheim museum and a pleasant walk by the river appropriately followed by a refreshing drink and a nice dinner at a club.
I hope that many of you will be able to come to the 4th EMBL Alumni [Iberic] Chapter Meeting that will take place at the IRB in Barcelona next year (Sarah Sherwood very kindly volunteered the location).
Maria dM Vivanco, PhD
Cell Biology and Stem Cells Unit
Parque Tecnológico de Bizkaia
48160 Derio (Bizkaia)
Tel +34 94 406 1322
Fax +34 94 406 1301
3rd Iberic Chapter Meeting in Bilbao, 7th September 2007: Alumni issues
1) Some Alumni mentioned their attempts in the past to contact EMBL directly about potential use of the EMBL workshop or help with patent issues and all of them found the same lack of response.
Suggestion: perhaps this and other issues that may come up in the future should first be directed to Juan Valcarcel, as our Alumni representative, who may know better who to address in order to obtain an official response of some kind.
2) Wikipedia web page: we all thought that it is an excellent idea.
Suggestion: it could also include the Alumni association information to improve its visibility.
3) Several of us have tried to take advantage of the EMBL PhD student rejects lists and found that we are usually too late.
Suggestion: the student applicants be offered the opportunity of looking at positions available in Alumni labs as soon as they are rejected by EMBL.
4) Information on funding opportunities in Spain and Europe and tips on how to succeed.
Suggestion: inviting an experienced speaker (ie, somebody from the ANEP, FIS or ERC).
5) Interactions through blog and/or emails.
Suggestion: to replace blog with Wiki plus automatically updatable email list or to have access to the local blogs through the Alumni association web page.
6) Redefining the aims of the Iberic chapter.
Suggestion: With a smile and a dose of irony the Alumni agreed that a major benefit of the meetings is a therapeutic sharing of problems encountered with Spanish bureaucracy (see 7).
7) There is a general complaint about the paperwork involved in hiring foreigners in Spain. Even when the scientist belongs to an European country, the person has to obtain a special permit (involving queuing for hours); this does not happen to EU nationals in other European countries. In addition, Spain insists on the homologation of PhD titles obtained in European Universities, and this can involve several years of paperwork.
Suggestion: we are aware that this goes beyond the area of influence of EMBL, but perhaps if it were brought up “at the highest level” it could contribute to make a difference in the future.