The Young Alliance Against Cancer (YAAC) held its second conference on May 22-23 in Copenhagen. Fiona Nielsen attended the conference and had the organisers Benito Campos and Lars Rønn Olsen answer some of her questions.
The Young Alliance is lead by a group of young cancer researchers, but how and why did the Young Alliance start?
It all started out in 2011 when a group of us (Aaron, Lars, Kunal, Benito) realised that cancer research is so complex and a large challenge for young researchers, and the narrow focus of each researcher brings a risk of doing redundant work because you are missing developments in the field. For instance we saw that publicly available data and tools from our lab could easily be unknown by the researchers in the next lab. We decided that it is necessary to help the young researchers know what data and tools are available. For just a small effort on increasing knowledge sharing, we could see a potential for making a big impact. We also saw the need for interdisciplinary knowledge exchange, so we decided to create an organisation to bring together young scientists with diverse backgrounds but with a common interest in facilitating cancer research.
I think the concept of making a conference on Open Science for young researchers is great. How did you come up with the topic of Open Science for your conference this year?
We did a lot of work applying for grants to get started, and our funding for organising this conference coincided with us meeting Ivo Grigorov and Mikael Karstensen Elbæk at a local Citizen Science meetup. Ivo and Mikael are both involved with the FOSTER Open Science programme (https://www.fosteropenscience.eu) which made us really excited about Open Science, and from there we continued to invite speakers through our network to put together this great programme. The conference included one day of research-oriented talks, with successful young cancer researchers (Mads Hald Andersen, Rune Linding, Janine Erler and Aaron McKenna) presenting their work along with their best tips for aspiring young researchers to make the most of their academic career. The second day focused on tools and practices for Open Science, including talks about Open Access publishing, data management plans and how to share and make your data and research outputs available to the research community AND get credit for doing so.
It was a really exciting conference, and we are looking forward to the next events organised by YAAC. Read more and follow the developments via the YAAC homepage: http://young-alliance.org