Student and Postdoc Association (SPA) – University of Copenhagen

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Student and Postdoc Association (SPA)

SPA is the Student and Postdoc Association at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research. It works to give all scientific staff the possibility to fully utilize the cumulative expertise that CPR embodies. The association provides a forum for interaction across floors, research groups and scientific interests.

Transparency and bridge-building

SPA strives to increase the transparency of research conducted at the centre by improving communication between the groups and promoting multidisciplinary research by bridging expertise from the different research groups, as well as to maintain a dialogue with the CPR management.

In the interest of improving the scientific discussion, SPA collaborated closely with group leaders at CPR to introduce Research In-Progress meetings, a seminar series that is revised and improved repeatedly. In these meetings, students and postdocs present their ongoing research with the purpose of gaining constructive criticism from other researchers at the centre.

SPA also works actively to organize career planning events, to inform students and postdocs of career possibilities outside the university, and to organize courses aimed to help its members improve their soft-skills as well as their technical qualifications.

Last but not least, SPA actively works with the social aspects of the workplace and promotes social interactions between staff at various levels from MSc students to group leaders. SPA organizes an annual retreat for students and postdocs, arranges regular Friday beers, and coordinates other social events both at the workplace and outside.

Scientific Advisory Board chairman Tony Hyman: "The whole SPA concept is very impressive. It's a pleasure to see how quickly the students and postdocs put together their ideas. It is a strategic asset to CPR that should be nurtured and involved. We encourage the students to continue to take initiative, and for the PIs to be fully supportive of this"

Activities

Besides its role as representation of the students and postdocs within the organization, SPA arranges various events for its members. These events can be categorized into three main areas: scientific, career-development and social, with some overlap.

  • Invite successful scientists from abroad to give seminars. Speakers are selected on the basis of nomination and vote by members
  • Annual SPA retreat including scientific and social elements
  • Courses to develop both technical and soft skills of members 
  • Informal lunch discussions with PIs at CPR
  • Organization of research-in-progress seminars
  • Monthly Friday beers

SPA representatives

Students and postdocs elect their representatives each year. The SPA representatives coordinate the activities arranged by SPA, as well as represent the association towards CPR management, thus facilitating the information flow in both directions, and giving students and postdocs a voice within the organization.

Current SPA representatives are:

  • Alexandra Stripp, PhD student Nielsen Group
  • Dimitris Typas, Postdoc Mailand Group
  • José Alejandro Romero Herrera, PhD student Brunak Group
  • Melanie Weisser, Postdoc Montoya Group
  • Molly Pleasants Lowndes, Postdoc Nielsen Group
  • Patrick Leopold Rüther, PhD student Olsen Group
  • Ufuk Kirik, Postdoc Jensen Group
  • Ulrike Kühbacher, PhD student Duxin Group