We aim at creating a vibrant, creative, competitive and collaborative scientific environment, in which all CCB members are proud to belong and contribute to. To this end, we stimulate our technicians, PhD students, postdocs and group leaders to actively participate in the “shaping” of the environment and everyday life of the center. Lab support, PhD and Postdoc associations have been create, ensuring that constructive dialogs among the scientists and between the scientists and the management, including the two directors, take place.
Our center is committed to provide professional training to pre- and post-doctoral students in preparation for a future research career in academia or industry.
PhD program: Our PhD students are all enrolled into the KULeuven Doctoral School (https://gbiomed.kuleuven.be/english/phd) . The school organizes an advisory committee for every student, evaluations at various time points during the PhD (first year evaluation, …). Both KULeuven and VIB provide our students with access to various training courses and networking events such as, for instance, the Oncoforum (an annual one-day event in which students present their work orally or through posters and interact with clinicians and renowned invited speakers), etc.
Running a research project: Learning how to do research productively, timely and competitively and focus on priorities is of utmost importance for the future success of independent junior scientists. Therefore, postdocs and PhD students are actively stimulated to participate in the conceptual design, reading of the literature, critical interpretation of the data, and resultant planning of the projects. CCB stimulates the formation of “sub-teams” within each individual research group, whereby senior postdocs supervise the work of master students and/or PhD/MD students, offering them the opportunity to run their own micro-lab independently. This also ensure that the maturing PhD/MD student benefit from daily supervision, close interactions and follow-up by more experienced scientists.. In addition, we organize yearly feedback moments and monitor well-being at work for all CCB members.
Writing and Reviewing publications: Learning how to seek and acquire funding is essential for the future career of a young independent investigator. Postdocs and PhD students are therefore stimulated, already early in their training at the CCB, to participate and contribute to the writing of research grants – this helps them to write, focus their research, and think carefully about their future experiments. To expand their training, PhD students and postdocs often participate in the writing of reviews and/or editorials. By assisting senior scientists in reviewing papers, PhD students and postdocs learn how to become appreciative of quality research and critical for their own research.
Communicating research findings: Equally important is that junior scientist learn how to give presentations and communicate their work to the scientific community. As a policy, participation to international scientific meetings is stimulated and supported (costs of 1 meeting/yr are covered). Postdocs and PhD students are regularly offered the opportunity to replace senior scientists at (inter)national meetings. PhD students and postdocs regularly present their data at interactive lab meetings. In addition, there are regular CCB seminars where students and postdocs present an overview of their work
Collaborations with Academia and Industry: Since competitive translational biomedical research is, often, interdisciplinary and complex, the CCB has a longstanding and active tradition of setting up (inter)national collaborations. To advance a project, learn new techniques and transfer this knowledge to the CCB, postdocs, PhD students and technicians alike are regularly sent on a short-term mission to external laboratories. Junior scientists also learn how to interact with industry, not only in writing grants together, but also in performing valorization projects. They also acquire skills and knowledge in Technology & Transfer, intellectual property, etc.
Career development: VIB and KULeuven have career development programs for doctoral and postdoctoral students so that they become optimally prepared for a future (scientific) independent career, which may involve teaching and often require the development of a whole range of additional skills (oral presentation, paper and grant writing, etc). In the framework of Training at VIB, VIB organizes a yearly ‘Career or Postdoc Day’ during which high profile (international) speakers from industry, research institutions or governmental organizations bring their views on the life science job market. Several other training sessions on how to write an effective Curriculum Vitae; how to perform at job interviews, etc, are also available. VIB employees can also build on the reputation and extensive network of the VIB to design their next career steps by participating, for example, to the yearly conference ‘Knowledge For Growth’ open to industrial and academic players in the field of Life Science.