Over the course of four days late in December 2021, 11 colleagues from the training teams of EATRIS-ERIC, INSTRUCT-ERIC and ELIXIR-EBI held a virtual staff visit to discuss selected topics related to training operations. Vera Matser from EMBL-EBI shares her thoughts.
Over the course of four days late in December 2021, 11 colleagues from the training teams of EATRIS-ERIC, INSTRUCT-ERIC and ELIXIR-EBI held a virtual staff visit to discuss selected topics related to training operations.
For the past two years, event organisers and training providers across the world have been trying to provide participants with high-quality virtual events. As a training provider, I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve and I believe virtual events are here to stay (though they will not replace face-to-face events) as they positively contribute to our training programme in a number of ways e.g. increase accessibility of training, a reduction in our carbon footprint and a better work-life balance for frequent travellers. What we have not been able to recreate virtually as successfully is the informal networking during events despite using dedicated social networking software. What I have missed most is the informal discussions with my training colleagues from other organisations over coffee or a drink after the event. These discussions have often been thought-provoking and sparked wider collaborations and sharing of best practices. For this reason, we decided to organise a virtual staff visit to catch up on some of the training discussions we had missed out on during the pandemic.
A number of topics were pre-defined based on the needs of the organisation but we kept the agenda of the visit open enough to see where the conversation would take us and additional topics were defined during the visit. Topics included: organisational structure and mission (for the training team), current challenges, e-learning and webinar series, KPI and Impact, GDPR, Financial management, and How to get the most out of limited (EU) resources. The programme was modular so that colleagues could join for as many or as few sessions as they wanted. Very limited preparation was required for the staff visit (three introduction slides with organisational structure, mission and current challenges) in order to not add to the year-end deadline frenzy and sessions were spread out over four days to allow everyone to keep on top of their other work.
It was a productive, enjoyable few days that allowed us to brainstorm, have frank discussions and ask for advice from highly valued colleagues. Based on the discussions we are writing a workshop proposal that should come out later in the year! Stay tuned!
Scientific Training Projects Coordinator
EMBL-EBI training team
This staff exchange experience was run as part of the RItrainPlus Staff and Knowledge Exchange Programme. Visit the webpage for more information about the programme, how to take part, and how to apply for a travel grant.