GI Hive is a brand new blog edited by UEG Young Talent Group that combines the most up-to-date information about life, career development, education and opportunities for young GI specialists in Europe. Interviews, infographics, WhatsApp conversations and videos with both junior and renowned specialists will be regularly published in GI Hive.
The first bee in the GI Hive is Yasmijn van Herwaarden – UEG Young Talent Group (YTG) chair. Yasmijn is a resident at the Rijnstate hospital in Arnhem, the Netherlands and tries to finish her PhD thesis at the Radboud university hospital in Nijmegen. She is a 30-year old Sagittarius and loves painting, pilates and plants.
Yasmijn, could you explain what is exactly Young Talent Group? What are the activities of the young GIs within UEG?
The Young Talent Group (YTG) was formed under the umbrella of the National Societies Committee to make the UEG and especially UEG Week more accessible and attractive for young specialists, residents, PhD students and post-docs working in digestive diseases.
Within the YTG we are a group of nine from all over Europe who meet twice a year to plan our activities. We have a young representative in all other UEG committees to give the young perspective on all UEG activities. Next to the YTG we try to have a “friend of the YTG” in each national society connected to UEG. These Friends are our ambassadors and inform us on issues and activities from their country and they spread the word about our activities in each country.
An important part of our activities take place during the UEG Week. We try to help guide first time visitors to the congress with for example the Young GI track in the congress app and the popular mentoring program.
We try to facilitate informal networking in the young GI lounge were everyone under 40 is welcome for coffee and power outlets during the whole week and by organizing the Let’s Meet event on Sunday night each year. We also organize special sessions for young GI’s, for example this years “How to prepare a presentation” and the “Check your CV” informal meeting in the lounge.
Among the most popular opportunities provided by YTG are the clinical and research fellowship programmes. Could you share with us a little bit more about them?
These fellowships were started to give young clinicians and researchers an opportunity to visit another European centre. We award € 1250 to spend at least two weeks in one of the participating centers.
When rating the applications for this fellowship we are looking for young people with a specific plan of what they want to learn from the centre they will be visiting. So if you want to apply please make a good plan of what you want to learn and carefully pick the center you want to visit to match your plan.
This year we completely changed the research fellowship compared to the previous years. We will be awarding more money, € 50.000, to spend 12 months with a European principal investigator to work on a research project. We want to support new and longer lasting research collaborations with this fellowship.
You have to propose a plan of what you want to do and choose the principal investigator you want to visit. Of course you can draw inspiration from the list of centers participating in the clinical fellowships.
The YTG published a paper on the needs of young GI sections in UEG Journal. Can you explain what are the needs of young sections belonging to UEG National Societies?
We circulated a questionnaire among our Friends of the Young Talent Group to make an overview of the situation of young GI’s in each country. We learned that in many countries the young GI’s/residents are not organized and represented at a national level. We believe that it is important for young professionals to be represented and actually have a say in decisions that are made about their daily work and their future workplace.
We are trying to help the young GI’s in different countries to get organized and have a young representative in the National Society. We already have some success stories, for example the newly formed young GI sections in Bulgaria and Spain.
Why it is important for a young GI to send an abstract to UEG Week?
For me submitting an abstract as a young researcher was always important because it was the opportunity to visit a conference and travel. I was fortunate that if the abstract was accepted for poster or oral presentation my department would pay for the travel costs and the conference fee.
I always get new inspiration and also motivation to continue my research after a conference. Even during a poster presentation I have gotten tips from the audience that would make it into the final manuscript. But it is also just a lot of fun to visit another country with colleagues and make new friends.
How can a young GI get involved with Young Talent Group and what is Young GI Network?
An easy way to stay in touch and hear about all our offers is to like the Young GI Network Facebook page. You can also subscribe to our mailing list and visit the UEG website to hear about the open calls we post. All the calls for the fellowships, other awards and grants and open calls for new positions in the YTG will be posted there.
Very soon we will start offering a new way to get involved in the UEG: it will become possible to actively apply for our new UEG Talent Pool. From this pool we will actively promote young talents to all the UEG committees.
The last two years we did a pilot for the talent pool with the Scientific Committee where young researchers could volunteer to chair a UEG Week session together with a senior chair. The reactions from both the junior chairs and the Scientific Committee were very positive seeing this as an excellent opportunity. We will post more information shortly and open the application on the UEG website.
Interviewer: Radislav Nakov