Resounding success of Vall d'Hebron's first PhD Day

More than 200 people have participated in a day full of short talks, conferences, and networking activities.


Vall d'Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus has celebrated its first PhD Day, a whole day of scientific activities created for and by the PhD community of Vall d'Hebron. The event was jointly organised by the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), the two research institutes of the Campus, which collectively have more than four hundred pre-doctoral students. Both institutions wanted to create a day dedicated to promote and empower the doctoral community. The initiative was a success with more than 200 participants, most of them pre-doctoral researchers, but also post-doctoral scientists, principal investigators, research technicians, MSc students, healthcare professionals, and administrative and support staff.

To underline the importance of the event, it was officially opened at the highest institutional level with the presence of Dr Begoña Benito, Director of the VHIR, Dr Josep Tabernero, Director of the VHIO and Dr Antonio Roman, Healthcare Director of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital. Dr Benito congratulated and thanked the doctoral students for organizing this important day, and said that “you are the future of science, you are the soul of our centres”. Dr Tabernero also put emphasis on the potential of PhD students, “you're our youngest generation, with a future full of potential and opportunities. Thank you for your ambition and determination in promoting the best science for our patients”.

Dr Roman pointed out the privileged location of the campus, with two research centres next to a third-generation hospital with more than 9,000 professionals and a million patients a year, forming an international institution in healthcare, research, teaching, and innovation. He added that "to be successful in research it is vital to share and communicate with your peers" and hoped that today will be a day to do that.

One of the objectives of the day was to highlight the different lines of investigation undertaken by the pre-doctoral researchers. This was done through six short talks, each given by a different doctoral student. The speakers were selected by a committee composed of members of the doctoral collective, and they illustrated the wide variety and high quality of research lines currently being studied in the Campus, with topics ranging from translation strategies to microRNA analysis, as well as biomarkers, organoids, radiopharmaceuticals and physicochemical properties.

Focus on Open Science and professional career options in an out of the academy

The event also included external experts who focused on topics of high interest to PhD students. First, Dr Ignasi Labastida, Head of the Research Unit at the Learning and Research Resources Centre (CRAI) of the University of Barcelona (UB) and Head of the Office for the Dissemination of Knowledge of the UB, spoke about the importance of Open Science. He shared his experience as a member of several Open Science working groups at national and international level. Dr. Labastida stressed the importance of a good data management “is it crucial to have a Data Management Plan from the beginning, but don’t use a template and accept that it not just a one- time document, it has to be dynamic and adapt to the evolution of the project”. 

After lunch, there was a round table with four doctors who have embarked on different professional paths: a junior PI, a university professor, a founder of a Spin-Off and a person who spend some time in private company and has returned to the Academy recently. The aim of the talk was to show the diversity of career options after the pre-doctoral period. The round table was open to questions from the audience to answer their doubts and queries about the different career paths.

The day concluded with its most informal activities: outdoor games and a scientific Quizlet. This was the only portion of the day that was only available to PhD students, as its main objective was to foster networking among them.

The event has been sponsored by La Campana, Museu d’Història de Catalunya and Pedrera Foundation.  

The objective of the organizers has been to create a day dedicated to promote and empower the doctoral community

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