In September 2023, the CHAIR consortium gathered in the Polish capital city, Warsaw. Daniel Gryko welcomed us within the Institute of Organic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences.
The ESRs arrived in Warsaw on the 10th of September, and met on the first evening for a welcome dinner. The next day was dedicated to our private scientific meeting. The ESRs presented their research to the other ESRs and PIs present, and discussed their results and challenges. While the ESRs are used to presenting during our Monthly Meeting, it is always a nice experience to discuss science in-person.
After the meeting, a guide took us around Warsaw for a very insightful visit, where we learned about the history of the city. We then all met for dinner at a typical Polish restaurant to try Pierogies (Polish dumplings), and of course, Polish beer.
Day two of our meeting was dedicated the the workshop on entrepreneurship. Prof. Piotr Garstecki from the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, explained his journey from academia to entrepreneurship, with his spin-out company, Scope Fluidics. Following this first talk, Dr Stanislaw Pikul offered a more industry-focused entrepreneurial adventures and challenges, from being the co-founder of OncoArendi (now Molecure) to creating a drug development company: Pikralida.
To conclude the morning session, Dr Tobias Biberger from our Partner Organisation Boehringer Ingelheim, also took this opportunity to present recent work performed at his company on identifying KRAS inhibitors thanks to fragment optimization, showing a more large-industry perspective.
After a lunch break, the afternoon session was dedicated to the question of ethics in science and good practices, with a very thorough talk from Dr Jan Paczesny from the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences.
During the second part of the afternoon, the ESRs received some training on outreach, with a series of experiments to be performed the next day to high-school students: see the dedicated post here!
We concluded the day with a sport-based team building activity: bouldering! A solo sport on paper, that requires little planning (no team needed, each person can go at their own pace) and is yet a really good way to come together, support each other by cheering, and try to find solutions to the problems as a team.
Promise, this wasn’t just an excuse to burn some calories so we can drink more beer after!