It is almost the end of the year, and mid-term of the PROTECTED project. I have to admit that I struggled finding a topic for this ESR blog’s article. So I decided to take a look back at this first half of my PhD, to review everything I achieved, all the opportunities I had, all the people I met and last but not least, remember all the experiments that didn’t work as expected. But you know what we say, when the lift breaks, just take the stairs! 🙂 Overall, if I had to choose one feeling to sum up this year it would be: grateful.

The leap into PhD life can be tricky and intimidating, new methods, new way of working/thinking and last but not least for PROTECTED ESRs: new country. However the beauty of our project is that we don’t undertake these big changes on our own. Mazia left warm Pakistan for rainy United Kingdom, Vittoria moved from her beloved Italy to Norway, her new love, while Solomon learned how to fish in Chile and Chiara… You can learn more about her project on the ESRs page! ( My point is: whereas we are all spread out within Europe facing all kind of challenges, we are experimenting and sharing this new situation together and I think that it is an amazing feeling

In October, we had the chance to meet other PhD students from “classic” PhD programs. It was a real pleasure to meet new people especially in the scientific area, the conversations are always interesting and valuable. We shared a lot about our work and future prospects, and really enjoyed spending some time together. The topic which struck me the most was the difference in training from an ITN to a normal track. While most students present their work once or twice in their PhD, we have the major opportunity to attend many conferences all over Europe and get to deepen our knowledge at various summer school.

We are doing our best at work, learning a lot at the same time, preparing a PhD for our future and still get the chance to visit new countries as a group of friends. That is a great opportunity! In December, PROTECTED ESRs will meet again in Oslo for two weeks. We will learn more about statistics, ethics and zebrafish handling, and give updates regarding our personal projects. I am looking forward learning more about everyone’s progress and hope to get exciting feedback on mine! See you there everyone!

Last but not least, I would like to share with you some of our group pictures to summarize 2018!
Thanks for reading, stay tuned!


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