The fourth ECTS Academy retreat took place in Bologna, Italy from 5-7 September 2019. The retreat had a historic backdrop, as the city hosts the world’s oldest university founded in 1088. During these two days, the Academy members reviewed their previous activities, including well-attended sessions hosted at the recent 2019 ECTS Conference in Budapest (i.e New Investigator Seminar, Mentoring Session, Next Generation Synergy Session, Poster Tour and Animal Models in Musculoskeletal Research Working Group). Furthermore, the current activities of various task forces of the Academy including the educational ERC webinar series and the ‘science dissemination to lay public’ series were highlighted and new initiatives were developed. In addition, the Academy discussed planned activities for the 2020 ECTS meeting in Marseille including novel mentoring formats, a charity event for the French FOP patient society, a hands-on methodology workshop and society outreach sessions. Successful inter-academy collaborations were introduced by Carolina Medina-Gomez and Martina Rauner, the GEMStone and FIDELIO projects respectively, two EU-funded projects supporting collaborative research and education. New members were welcomed into the Academy, and introduced themselves and their research experience and interests followed by similar updates from existing members. This included details of a number of active collaborations between Academy members, and during this session several new opportunities for collaboration were identified. Annegreet Veldhuis-Vlug was announced as the new co-Chair of the Academy, supporting current Academy Chair Elena Tsourdi in co-ordinating the Academy’s activities. A number of Academy members stayed after the retreat to participate in a speed mentoring session and a poster tour and to contribute as faculty for the ECTS PhD Training Course held at the same venue. In this setting, a very successful interface was built between Academy members and younger PhD candidates enabling networking and continuing interactions between young scientists. Evening activities led by the Academy’s Italian contingent allowed members to sample local food and wine and tour this beautiful and historic city.
Applications are now open until 31st October to join the next intake of the Academy (https://ectsoc.org/ects-academy/how-to-get-involved/eligibility/). Successful applicants will join a friendly and supportive group, and have opportunities to contribute to Society activities and develop collaborative research.
The Academy would like to acknowledge ECTS, Amgen and Agnovos; without their generous support, these productive meetings could not take place.
On behalf of the ECTS Academy,
Current academy members include: Elena Tsourdi (Chair), Annegreet Veldhuis-Vlug (Co-chair), Martina Rauner, Hermann Agis, Nicolas Bonnet, Andrea Burden, Carmen Huesa, Nicola Napoli, Hanna Taipaleenmaeki, Athanasios Anastasilakis, Karine Briot, Mattia Capulli, Graeme Campbell, Graziana Colaianni, Thomas Funk-Brentano, Vito Guarnieri, Anjali Kusumbe, Daniela Merlotti, Julien Paccou, Nerea Alonso, Ulrike Baschant, Björn Busse, Abbas Jafari, Saravana Ramasamy, Ilaria Roato, Katherine Staines, Natalie Butterfield, Melanie Haffner-Luntzer, Marietta Herman, Ciro Menale, Petar Milovanovic, Andrea Palermo, Ling Oei, Alex Ireland, Carolina Medina-Gomez, Ning Wang, Elizabeth Winter and Ursula Heilmeier.