Nijmegen 2019

Next-generation life scientists: Side by side to break new ground

In November 2019, the 3rd ENABLE conference for young researchers took place in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and turned out to be a huge success, with 229 young researchers participating from 27 countries within and outside of the EU. The ENABLE 2019 event was split into three parts: outreach events, a dedicated career day and the scientific symposium.

Our 6 sponsors were enthusiastic of this initiative and their contribution allowed us to support a total of 42 travel grants. ENABLE 2019 demonstrated the determination of this consortium to continue organising unique high-level conferences, different from the classic scientific symposia to which we are used to, and with a special focus on the young generation of scientists.

Enable NMG 2019 at a glance

Scientific Symposium

Following the scientific theme of the symposium, “Next-generation life scientists: Side by side to break new ground”, seven renowned keynote speakers from the field shared their expertise and experience in four sessions across several topics like personalised medicine, advanced imaging, big data and fundamental research.

Check out our newsletter for post-conference interviews with Antoine Coulon, Francesca Ciccarelli, and Alison Noble.

Scientific sessions and keynote speakers

Session 1: Personalized Medicine

Hubrecht Institute
Utrecht, Netherlands
Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan, Israel

Session 2: Advanced Imaging

Morgridge Institute for Research
Madison, United States
University of Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom

Session 3: Big Data

Uppsala University
Uppsala, Sweden
Francis Crick Institute
London, United Kingdom

Session 4: Fundamental Research

Institut Curie
Paris, France

Career Day

ENABLE aims to awaken the professional curiosity of young scientists. We recognize that the conventional academic path may not be for everyone, and getting a sense of what is out there empowers people to move forward. At Enable 2019 we covered the areas we think are essential to developing a professional future as a Ph.D.


Workshops were intensive courses for small groups to help the personal and professional development of young researchers. We offered 11 workshops:

  • “Networking with Purpose” by Kate Jones (Vitae).
  • “Tell your Professional Story!” by Christine. Taylor (Storycraft)
  • “Finding Your Strength(s)” by Ana Ferreira.
  • “Your Next Step Outside Academia” by Monique Kropman, Gerda Nachtegaal, Shira Hurenkamp.
  • “Designing Informative Studies and Publishing Null Results” by Daniël Lakens.
  • “Find Your Funding” by Rachel van Swelm (Valorisation Radboudumc).
  • “The Secrets of Science Communication” by Lucas Sanchez (Scienseed).
  • “Attract Attention with Your Poster and Pitch” by Myrte van Hilten.
  • “The Art of Presenting Science – Actors Skills to Make Most of Your Presenting” by Gijs Meeusen (Artesec).
  • “Researcher Wellbeing and Mental Health” by Kate Jones (Vitae).
  • “Secrets from a Reviewer – How to Get Your Paper Accepted” by Jos van der Meer.

Career chats

Career Chats overcome the classical format of career development roundtables providing a more direct interaction between PhD and Postdocs and professionals that hold a PhD but moved beyond academic research. Each session lasted 30 min and involved 8-12 participants who had the opportunity to interact with and ask questions to the professionals participating in that session. At the end of the allotted time, participants were able to move on to another Career Chat with a different professional. 

In our career-chats with fourteen professionals, including PIs, scientific officers, patent managers, and company specialists from pharma and biotech, the attendees had the opportunity to engage in inspiring conversations where queries about life choices and career opportunities were discussed.

Opportunity fair

During the ENABLE job fair, participants had the opportunity to have a quick check of their CV or LinkedIn profile, and chat with our twenty three company representatives to gain insight on what companies are looking for in potential candidates, and to establish a network with them.

Representatives were present from:

  • Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies
  • Recruiting agencies
  • Editing/publishing companies
  • Academic organisations
  • Scientific Societies
  • Business schools

You can find a list of companies that participated on this page.

Outreach activities

One of the reasons ENABLE stands out among other conferences is the effort put into the outreach activities. It is a duty of scientists to continually commit to disclosing their work to the general public. The only way we can really become better and create a change in the society we are living in is through having clear and transparent discussions including all of the citizens interested and not just scientists. This is why ENABLE dedicates itself to public outreach activities and why the ENABLE conference started well before all of the participants have arrived. Collaboration with the InScience Film Festival kicked off ENABLE 2019 outreach activities. During this event, the use of CRISPR/Cas9 and ‘Designer babies’ were up for discussion. Public, together with experts participating in the panel, had the opportunity to shed some light on the science and ethical issues behind the development of CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Another part of the outreach was dedicated to schools. In Groesbeek, a set of activities was held with the aim of making Life Science and Human Biology more approachable, clear and interesting to the students. The interactive approach of the workshops had a lot of success and the youngest ENABLE participants had the chance to learn many new things all while playing and having fun. “Half a century of biomedical research: what have we achieved?” was a lecture senior citizens of Nijmegen had a chance to attend in a full room of the retirement home. Alessandra Cambi, the head of the Radboud UMC Cell Biology department, highlighted the most important achievements of biomedicine research until today.

The organising committee

Scientific organising committee


Valentin Flury – Anamarija Pfeiffer


David Mas – Nevenka Radic – Valentina Zinna


Felix Fennemann – Yessica Alina Rodriguez Rosales – Koen van den Dries


Giorgia Ceccotti – Roman Hillje – Federico Zucca

Local organising committee


Abbey Arp – Alisa Potter – Anouk Becker – Camille Le Gall – Carlijn Bruggeling – Cristina Graham Martinez – Francesca Tiso – Inge Wortel – Iris Hagemans – Jolien Freriksen – Laura Miesen – Lieke Claessens-Joosten – Lisanne Gommers – René Raavé – Rens Peeters – Rutger Röring – Tariq Haddad – Yvonne Bartels


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 724115.