Columns @IndiaBioscience

YIM 2017- What do the organisers say?


YIM 2017- the organising committe
YIM 2017- the organising committe  (Photo: Harini Barath)

How and why did you join YIM 2017 organising committee?

Deepa: I had a very good experience at the YIM I attended in 2012 in Lonavala. When I was approached to be on the organising committee I thought it would be good to help out and learn how the whole process works.

Praveen: YIM is a unique platform where three generations of energetic scientists meet and discuss exciting science and build the network to enhance caliber in Indian academia. This is a platform where thoughts are shared and discussed, not just on science but also science policies and career opportunities. Given my association with YIM Boston as an organiser for the last six years, joining the organising committee of YIM 2017 is a natural transition.

Smita: IndiaBioscience, of which I am a part, plays an administrative and advisory role in the YIM every year. This is my first association with YIM as an organiser, and it has been a good journey so far. With the extensive experience that IndiaBioscience already had and the efforts we have put in this year, we hope everybody will have a fruitful meeting.

Sudha: I went to two other YIMs – one as a YI and other as a PDF – and I figured it is time to give back. When Nandini (one of the previous organisers) asked me to join and gave me an idea of who the other players might be, it was an immediate yes. And of course, Goa was an icing on the cake.

Sumit: I attended last year’s YIM where it was decided that YIM 2017 would be held in Goa. I was already at BITS, Goa then and I knew we had the hosting abilities. I am hoping this meeting will get both Goa and BITS some exposure as a science destination. 

What do you think can the participants hope to gain from this YIM? Is anything unique about this YIM?

Deepa: YIM is a learning process. For PDFs who haven’t spent a lot of time in India during their PhD and post doc, this is really the place to come to learn what it takes to set up a lab and get things going in India. It also helps you find what Vijay (K VijayRaghavan) calls the buddy group”. When two or three of you join an institute as buddies, you can help make a change. For example in my case, one of the other participants who attended YIM Lonavala also ended up joining the same institute. We knew each other from YIM, we interviewed together and we joined the institute together, so it was a real buddy system working.

Praveen: This is a great opportunity for young researchers to showcase their science to peers and mentors. Postdocs should take the initiative to interact with YIs who can share their experience in setting up labs and establishing independent research programs. 

As we see now, a significant part of academia is shifting towards translational science, and we are standing at an interesting corner. Increasingly more collaborations are being established between academia and industry. In YIM 2017, we have a dedicated session to discuss collaborations between academia and industry, and how cross-career opportunities exist.

Smita: We have great lineup of directors, people from the industry and of course some of the best mentors coming in. It’s a great place to connect with people and make your network strong. So, my suggestion to every participant is to make the most of it.

Sudha: YIMs enable you identify your peer group. There is real solace in numbers and in knowing that there are others looking to explore Indian science as a possible destination for their career. Like Deepa here, four other people from the YIM I attended, ended up joining the same institute as myself.

The one thing thing that makes this YIM unique is the industry presence in the meeting.

Sumit:YIM is a great opportunity for PDFs to understand what it takes to set up a lab in India and to learn from the directors and mentors.

We have tried to make this year’s YIM more people-centric and interactive. For example, we have introduced YI panel sessions this time to help them showcase their views in addition to the mentor panel sessions.

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