Young scientists at BioVision

News Date: 3 Jun 2016

IAP recently supported four young scientists to attend back-to-back events at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) in Egypt: BioVisionAlexandria.Nxt and BioVision – the world life sciences forum.

During the IAP General Assembly in Hermanus, South Africa, earlier this year, Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the BA, pledged to host a number of young scientists at the events. The four young scientists – from Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh and Senegal – were each nominated by their national academies.

The TWAS/BioVisionAlexandria.NXT 2016 event focused on ‘Research ethics and social responsibility’, and it took place on 10-11 April, immediately prior to the main BioVision conference. The theme of BioVisionAlexandria 2016 (12-14 April) was ‘The new life sciences: The road ahead’.

Among the topics covered in the BioVision.NXT event – which brought together more than 40 young scientists from developing countries – were intellectual property rights, dual-use research, responsible authorship, plagiarism, and the fabrication and falsification of data.

“As a PhD student, this was a unique occasion for me to listen to high-level speakers who turned out to be quite approachable,” said Shaniko Allajbeu from Albania. “I had the chance to meet Nobel Laureates, renowned speakers, and other young scientists from all over the world. It was great to meet people that made such impressive contributions to science and to listen to their opinions and ideas about the crucial issues that I have to take into consideration when thinking about my career in the future. The various panels were highly interesting and touched upon most issues related to the research ethics in the developing world, and highlight its importance for society also related to the researchers’ responsibilities to overcome obstacles in developing countries using quality controlled and high standard research.”

These thoughts were echoed by Agostina Carestia from Argentina, who said: “The days of BioVision.NXT were very useful for me because I learned about how to deal with publishing paper, which represents an important aspect of our work and for career advancement.”

BioVisionAlexandria 2016 itself focused on such critical issues as food security, climate change, the rapid evolution of robots and bio-robots, new technologies in genetics, commercialization in the biosciences and other issues. There was also a special videoconference session by two Nobel laureates: James Heckman (Economics, 2000) and John Mather (Physics, 2006).

As I am a biotechnologist, the programme was very interesting for me, especially those talks about the future of genomics, advances in biomedical sciences, the microbiome and translational medicine, items that, according to me, represent promising future fields of application in clinical science,” said Agostina Carestia.

Issa Diedhiou from Senegal also expressed his appreciation for the support from IAP that enabled him to attend the events.

“I had the opportunity to learn, share and meet senior scientists, policy makers and many young researchers in particular. This combination was a real opportunity for me to create new collaborations,” he confirmed.

“In particular, I had good interactions with experts on topics such as biological nitrogen fixation in cereals, maize and tomatoes, the analysis of sequencing data, as well as with William Saito, special advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, with whom I discussed support for researchers in Senegal.”