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Nextgen@Helmholtz 2018 in Potsdam: Helmholtz goes Digital

From July 25th to 27th the next generation of Helmholtz researchers went digital at GFZ Potsdam. The local organization team and the Helmholtz Juniors hosted a conference for more than 130 doctoral researchers from 17 Helmholtz centers for three days to learn about Big Data, science communication and the future of science.

Group photo with all attendees to the NextGen2018@Potsdam

Program Highlights

(Re-)Present Your Institute
After a warm welcome from GFZ scientific director Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reinhard Hüttl, Helmholtz president Prof. Dr. Otmar Wiestler and the Helmholtz Juniors speakers Vasiliki Anastasopoulou and Erich Zähringer the different institutes introduced themselves in a “(Re-)Present your institute” session. With their institutes presentation, where different research institutes were introduced as the houses of Hogwarts, the doctoral researchers from Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) won the audience’s price for the best performance.

Podium Discussion
In an interactive discussion Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reinhard Hüttl (scientific chairman GFZ), Dr. Johannes Freudenreich (Helmholtz Association), Ijad Madisch (CEO Researchgate), Kristina Vaillant (science journalist) and Vasiliki Anastasopoulou talked about the future of science, predatory journals and artificial intelligence. The moderator Lilo Berg (science journalist) included the audience with questions and small public polls.

Science Slam
On the first evening doctoral researchers gathered to learn more about different PhD project in the format of a Science Slam. The price for the best slam went to Ingeborg Heuschkel from UFZ with her talk about mixed species phototrophic biofilms for the biotransformation of cyclohexane.

Boat Cruise
On the second day after a long workshop sessions the doctoral researchers had the opportunity to join a guided boat cruise on the sundeck of MS Belvedere through Park Babelsberg and to Wannsee.

Barcamp Session
On the last morning doctoral researchers joined in small groups to discuss about topics like project management in science, the importance of science communication and mental health during the PhD and presented their findings to their peers.

Alumni Session
Several Helmholtz alumni were invited to introduce themselves and their field of work to attending doctoral researchers. They gave insight into areas of work like Consultancy, Head of R&D, Data Scientist, Development Manager and Professorship.

Interviews with some of the alumni are available in our youtube channel

Podium discusion - From left to right: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reinhard Hüttl, Ijad Madisch, Vasiliki Anastasopoulou, Kristina Vaillant, Dr. Johannes Freudenreich and (moderator) Lilo Berg

Boat Cruise on the Havel river


Data Visualization
Working with their own data, doctoral researcher attending this workshop were encouraged to present their scientific results in an understandable and appealing way to their peers.

Introduction to Deep Learning
There certainly is a hype about artificial intelligence and so-called neural networks. Attendees from this workshop got not only an introduction to most important concepts, but also gained first practical experience with programming examples and discussed ways of using deep learning in their PhD projects.

Open Science and the Data Life Cycle
An Introduction to the several principles of open science and to suitable publishers, transparent research data repositories and software was given to doctoral candidates that decided to join this workshop.

Python – An Introductory Workshop
To learn one of the most popular programming languages that is also becoming increasingly popular among scientist for a broad variety of applications several doctoral researchers gathered for this programming workshop.

Python – An Advanced Workshop
Many doctoral researchers were already using Python and joined this workshop to learn about Big Data applications of Python, ways to implement modules from the C language and to accelerate conventional Python code significantly.

Supercomputing and Big Data
How to train machine learning models and neural networks in parallel on large quantities of scientific and engineering datasets? How to use and get access to high performance computing to deal with these Big Data sets? Participants from this workshop can certainly tell you!

Analyzing Dynamical Data – from Basic Statistics to Modern Time Series Analyses
Ever wondered what possibilities await in the world beyond classical statistical method? This workshop provided the answer! Participants learned how to deal with real time data and nonstationary in common statistical software environments.

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