The 7th edition of the Young Investigators’ Meeting (YIM) was organised at Gulmarg, Kashmir from the 27th of March to the 1st of April. This 5‑day Meeting brought together an eclectic mix of India’s best early-career life-science researchers, postdoctoral fellows, reputed Indian and international scientists, administrators of institutions, funding agency representatives and science policy makers for five days of discussions and interactions focusing on science and careers in science. This year the YIM enjoyed local support from the University of Kashmir in Srinagar. The Young Investigators Meeting 2015 opened on 27th March with the Postdoctoral Satellite Meeting. Kick-starting the proceedings, introductory remarks were given by Satyajit Mayor (NCBS, Bangalore), L S Shashidhara (IISER, Pune) and Manzoor Shah (University of Kashmir). The Young Investigators’ Meeting began on the evening of 28th March with a welcome address by Ron Vale, Professor and HHMI Investigator at UCSF, and one of the founders of the YIM. The keynote lecture was delivered by K VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of BioTechnology. Among other things, his engaging talk also touched upon the need to invest in science education and in communicating science in a manner that not only makes it interesting, but also removes misconceptions.
The next few days of YIM shifted between talks by experienced faculty, each discussing their research as a journey through academia, and young investigators just starting out in faculty positions. A morning session on the challenges and opportunities posed by science funding in India had talks by representatives from funding agencies ranging from DBT and Wellcome Trust to international bodies, all of which had energetic question and answer sessions.
Shri N N Vohra, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir State and Chancellor, University of Kashmir joined the concluding day of the meeting together with Khurshid Andrabi, Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir and Zafar A Reshi, Registrar University of Kashmir. Addressing the researchers, Shri N N Vohra said, “Scientists and science have to play a great role in adequate communication with the public at large so that there are no unscientific prejudices about certain scientific applications, which lend themselves towards enhancing productivity.” In his well-received talk, he also emphasised that the time had come to think about a second green revolution, which is sustainable and ecologically compatible.
Daily poster sessions prompted lively scientific exchanges. Break-out sessions through the days opened dialogues between mentors and young investigators on a range of topics including lab management, the role of mentorship in science, gender sensitization in academia and science outreach.
The highlights of the YIM were communicated as they happened through the live blog.
YIM 2015 was held 60 km from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s northernmost state. Located on the banks of the Jhelum River in the Kashmir Valley, popularly known as the paradise on Earth, Srinagar has a history of over 2000 years. With a distinctive blend of cultural heritage, the city has numerous shrines, monuments, and religious places of interest to visit. A destination for both local and international tourism, it is today best known for its historic Mughal gardens, lakes and houseboats, traditional handicrafts and dry fruits.
For the YIM, we traveled a short distance from Srinagar into the Pir Panjal range of the nearby Himalayas, to The Khyber Himalayan Spa and Resort at Gulmarg. The Khyber is spread over seven acres, surrounded by fir forests, with majestic views of the Affarwat Peaks.
Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM)