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Social Activities 2013

Social Activities 2013

Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer. The program’s retreat, October 2013

Like last year we met at the Eden Roc (Sant Feliu de Guixolls), a hotel overlooking the sea of the Costa Brava. Seventy of us came together to stay overnight for a mix of socializing and science exchanges, among beautiful weather and surrounded by the sound of the waves. For the retreat we came up with an exercise intended to maximize interactions between the members of the 10 groups of the program, rather than having formal presentations.

Here is what we did: each group leader generated two interesting questions relevant for the research of the group. These were collected in a list and sent to everyone a couple of weeks before the retreat. Members of the program could then sign up to work and discuss ways to approach a problem of their choice (not posed by their own group), forming a total of 20 teams. Most questions were chosen, sometimes by more than one team. In the days before the retreat one could see groups of people cuddling together in the meeting area between the two wings of our program, shuffling papers, talking, laughing, gesticulating or simply listening.

At the retreat, group leaders briefly introduced their question and then the relevant team gave a 10-15 min presentation, followed by a general discussion. After a night in the disco the exercise continued for another half a day. Then we voted on the best idea for a project addressing one of the questions. The top proposal was met with enthusiasm and has now turned into a collaboration between two groups.

The retreat was wrapped up with a tasty lunch. Back in the bus to Barcelona people sat tired in their seats, recalling the last one and a half days. New contacts, friendships, nature's beauty and some inspiring moments- it was fun and worth it!