The pandemic has interrupted the physical ties between PhD students and this is the first time they meet face-to-face since the pandemic started. According to the members of the Organizing Committee, the aim of this meeting is to discuss science, something that was made very difficult by the pandemic.
They also intend to discuss new ideas and show the various research projects underway at CAML. “Often, in the hustle of the day-to-day laboratory, it is difficult to Exchange ideas with our colleagues and get to know other works. With this Meeting, by getting to know each other’s projects better, we can exchange ideas and eventually think about collaborations, which would hardly arise if this moment did not exist.”
The pandemic kept PhD students away from personal contact, but as a consequence of the pandemic, “civil society came closer to scientists, which allowed to open new doors to Science and to show the importance of funding Research projects.”
We challenged the Organizing Committed for an interview, that told us more about the PhD Meeting.
What is the future of a PhD after the end of his thesis? What is future in Portugal?
After finishing the thesis, the PhD can continue in the academic career, or embark on a career in industry. Either of these paths is possible in Portugal, and there is often a preference for the industrial career, as it is a career that typically brings more financial stability. The final choice will always depend on the capacity to balance personal and professional life, as well as the individual objectives of each person.
Why do we always have so few doctors in this PhD Meeting?
This meeting is organized by CAML students for all CAML students. However, we have to understand that clinical students have the difficult task of coordinating their academic activity with clinical practice, while a non-clinical PhD student may have more availability to attend the Meeting. However, every year we have made an effort to bring these two sides closer together, as we believe that both sides will have much to gain from the possible new scientific collaborations and exchange of ideas generated here.
Portugal is one of the most precarious countries in terms of contractual stability for researchers and scientists. What do you think can be done to reverse this scenario?
One of the big steps that can be taken is to show society the value and the real importance of science in the daily life of the common citizen. As a consequence of the pandemic situation, the civil society approached the scientists, which opened new doors to Science and showed the importance of funding Research projects. However, as they say "the path is made by walking" and much remains to be done. Because we feel that science communication for non-scientists is a very relevant and current subject, in this edition of the Meeting, we have organized a round table about this theme that, we believe, will be very informative, not only for students but for all the CAML community.
Which research areas are in greater demand? And why?
Currently, we feel that the areas with greatest demand are those that have the possibility of more immediate applicability – projects in the area of cancer are projects that always attract a lot of attention from new students, but also virology has been attracting interest from students, as a consequence of the current pandemic crisis.
How do you classify being a PhD student at the FMUL?
Being an FMUL student is being part of a secular institution, with national and international prestige and renown. The FMUL gives each of us the opportunity to explore our passion for Science in the harmonious environment of the Lisbon Academic Medicine Centre. Here, each PhD student has the space and freedom to carry out basic or translational research, always keeping the possibility of developing collaborations with the different partners within the FMUL community.