First DTP PIPS placement for CEPAMS labs
The first CEPAMS placement as part of BBSRC’s DTP PIPS (Professional Internships for PhD Student) programme has just started in Beijing. Rob Bellows will be based in Yongbiao Xue’s lab at the CAS Institute for Genetics and Developmental Biology for three months where he will be leading science communication training for an international audience. A member of Enrico Coen’s lab at JIC, Rob is already enjoying the experience in Beijing and is hoping to pass on some of the training he’s received during his PhD.
‘My supervisor has done a lot of work with me, to get me to think about structuring any form of communication in the most effective way possible,’ said Rob, ‘The background information I have learnt can be applied to presentations, reports and even posters.
The PIPS placement marks a new step forward for the collaboration between CAS and JIC. Although exchanges between Chinese and UK based researchers have become more commonplace since the launch of CEPAMS, Rob’s placement is the first time a DTP student from the Norwich Research Park has undertaken a placement of this kind in a CEPAMS lab.
‘CEPAMS is a great example of UK and Chinese collaboration in research at any career level,’ said John Innes Centre Head of Policy and International Chris Darby. ‘Hopefully Rob’s placement can inspire more cross intuitional exchanges of this kind.’
Rob will deliver his training through a series of talks, workshops and drop-in sessions during his time at IGDB. He hopes this training will provide a chance for his new colleagues to practice presenting their research before travelling to international conferences.
‘A lot of fantastic work comes out of CAS,’ said Rob, ‘being able to get this information across in a clear and efficient way will further improve these outputs.’
Rob joins the lab of John Innes Centre alumnus Yongbiao Xue. Yongbiao did his PhD at the John Innes Centre followed by a post-doctoral position in Enrico Coen’s lab – the same lab Rob is based in at the John Innes Centre. Yongbiao, remains in contact with Enrico through a CEPAMS research collaboration. Rob will be working alongside the students, post-docs and research assistants in Yongbiao’s lab.
As well as the opportunity to teach, the internship provides Rob with the chance to experience the research environment in a different culture. The trip marks his first time to China and he’s already discovering different approaches to the demands of microbiology research.
It is a great privilege to be working in a renowned institute in the capital of a fascinating country,’ said Rob ‘ We work long hours but it is typical to have a nap after lunch – something I could definitely get used to!’
I have been pleasantly surprised at how quiet, open and leafy this area of Beijing is,’ said Rob, ‘I adore Asian food and I’m looking forward to trying new things’
The aim of the PIPS program is to provide a chance for PhD students to gain experience outside of their immediate research. Rob’s time with a CEPAMS partner may be the first for the collaboration but there might well be more to follow in the future.
‘For others’ who may consider going to China I say do it!’ Said Rob, ‘The people I have met so far have been very friendly and have made me feel very comfortable here.’
Rob was however given one word of warning to bear in mind before flying to Beijing.
‘One piece of advice a Chinese colleague gave me before I left was, “Don’t eat too much food, you’ll come back very fat!”
The PIPS internship is part of the BBSRC funded Doctoral Training Program at the Norwich Research Park which provides support for PhD students to gain experiences outside of their immediate area of research. The DTP program is organised by the Graduate Student Office. Organisation of Rob’s placement was assisted by the UEA Careers Central Office with additional financial support from CEPAMS.
Rob would like to thank both Enrico Coen and Yongbiao Xue for their help in making this project possible and to Evan Hancock of the University of East Anglia Careers Central for all the help he provided.