I had a general idea on how the Science Forum works since there have been winners from my university in the past. However, the experience of personally participating in the forum was a unique and enriching one. It was beyond my expectations. From meeting new people to travelling solo in Germany, each day was an adventure of its own.
We were welcomed with open arms by the organising committee and our wonderful coordinators Julia and Marc were with us every step of the way. They worked relentlessly to ensure everything was on track during these two weeks. We were 25 winners from 21 different countries with different cultures, backgrounds and personalities. Yet, I was amazed on how easily friendship developed amongst us, fueled by travelling together and sharing meals over the course of the forum. In between, we were treated to some amazing historic tours across Leipzig and Dresden against the beautiful backdrop of the autumnal scenery in Germany.
Sustainability was at the core of our programme and it was prevalent in each of the institute and/or company we visited. The passion and dedication for research which I witnessed firsthand was admirable. Often, over the years we tend to forget the initial spark which propelled us to be involved in research, but the forum renewed my interest to gain more knowledge in my field of work. Our group discussions convinced me that we as researchers hold a certain kind of power, which we must put to good use for the whole society to benefit from our research and findings. Personally, the forum acted as a platform where people were able to get an insight into my work.
Furthermore, the forum facilitated some amazing networking. I can reach out to my fellow Green Talents if I need their expertise. I am also looking forward to my research stay next year, which I believe will contribute significantly to my career goals. On an endnote, Dankeschön to the BMBF for giving us this amazing opportunity. I strongly believe that this kind of initiative encourages young researchers to pursue their passion.
By Shilpa Rumjeet,
Project Coordinator in Bioprocess Engineering (University of Cape Town, South Africa)