HPC retreat: the joy of in-person discussions to align behind the Center-vision

"Scientific Exchange reloaded“- that could have been the motto of this year's Pioneer Campus retreat. In addition to lectures, presentations and workshops, the focus of the two days was above all on personal interactions, re-connecting with known and making new friends.


‘Finally an in person event’, ‘I have not met anyone beyond my group since starting at Helmholtz’ and ‘I missed the personal exchange so much’ - these were just a few of the thoughts the attendees voiced, because after almost two years into the Pandemic, many were extremely grateful to meet colleagues personally and not sitting at home behind a screen.

Over the course of two days, all PioneerCampus employees met and mingled, also with selected scientists from other departments of Helmholtz Munich to discuss common visions and scientific collaborations – with the potential to deliver and execute on the POF strategy. Kick-started by short ‘vision talks’ from the HPC Principal Investigators and their guests that included Carsten Marr (Director of the Institute for AI in Health), Michelle Vincendeau (Virology) or Matthias Heinig (ICB), the retreat offered plenty of time for scientific discussions at the more than 40 presented posters, many individual meetings and private conversations as well as outdoor-organized social activities.


"A wonderful setting to return back into close to normal scientific life."


Notable highlights of the event were a lecture by the HPC’s Director of Bioengineering, Prof. Vasilis Ntziachristos, and a Keynote delivered by Dr. Judith Zaugg (EMBL; Heidelberg). In a complementary skills training session, Samuel Krahl and Céline Carret from EMBO Solutions in Heidelberg equipped PhD students and Postdocs with tangible concepts to organize, self-reflect as well as to receive and give professional feedback in a complex and competitive research setting.

Ultimately, we are grateful for the attendance and contribution of our POF program speaker Ele Zeggini, which emphasizes the strategic positioning of the Pioneer Campus as central pillar and integrative driver of the ambitious scientific agenda at Helmholtz Munich.

Another big thank you goes to the team of the Conference Center at 'Haus der Bayerischen Landwirtschaft' in Herrsching am Ammersee, to whom we owe tremendously due to their incredible support in arranging and complying with most current Pandemic legal regulations as well as their immense pragmatism and flexibility to make our retreat a successful and safe event.