October 19, 2022, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

My trip to Ven, Sweden

Jane Crowley shares her experience of attending a conference in Sweden, with support from the Researcher Academy.

~ Ven

In June, I had the opportunity to attend the 10th International Graduate Summer School for Biophotonics, on the island of Ven, with help from the Researcher Academy Conferences, Travel and Training Fund. Over 60 postgraduate biophotonics students from all over the world met in Copenhagen, took a bus, a boat, and arrived on Ven; a small Swedish island situated between Sweden and Denmark.

On arrival, we were taken to the school site where classes began right away. Leading professors in biophotonics attended the school and gave lectures in their research fields.

All attendees had prepared a poster of their work, and a poster session was broken up over two days where we could present our poster to fellow attendees and to the lecturers. It was a great opportunity to explain our research to fellow students, and to learn about the vast amount of biophotonics research being carried out across the globe. It’s fair to say many of our voices were on the way out at the close of the poster session! (Piece of advice; if you go for a fabric poster make sure you have access to an iron at the place you’re going to!!)

~ Jane

When there was a break in the classes timetable, we had the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Ven. We hopped on bikes and went to arguably the most important place on the island: the ice cream shop. We also had a tour of Tycho Brahe’s observatory. Brahe was an astronomer best known for his discovery of ‘De nova stella’ – a supernova in the constellation of Cassiopeia. He was also known for tracking the movement of stars, and most of the data he took paved the way for Kepler’s (a student of Brahe) discoveries on planetary motion.


~ Brahe’s observatory

What made the summer school so special was the isolation. With little to no internet access, we were forced to spend all our time with fellow participants and lecturers, which was amazing. Meal times were all had together, with the lecturers engaging with the students in an informal manner not many people are used to. This relaxed environment made it easy to discuss stresses associated with being a PhD student, such as imposter syndrome, with not only fellow PhD students but with lecturers who have been in our position in the past and can offer sound advice.

After a week on the beautiful Ven, we got back on the boat and headed for the mainland with an ample of knowledge and enthusiasm, friends for life, and a (soon to be) positive covid test…

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