The Rising Stars Award provides a durable platform for young researchers to further improve and progress in their professional career. Current and previous UEG Rising Stars told us more about their experience receiving this award and how they benefited.
How did the Rising Star Award contribute to your career in the long run?
The Rising Star Award gave me the visibility at the national stage and helped locally to propel my academic career. The award confirmed my choice to enter gastroenterology as a medical specialisation and GI research as a topic of clinical investigation. It also catapulted me into UEG as an organisation. After the award ceremony, I was asked by Reinhold Stockbrügger to sit with the "Young Investigator Meeting" and that really caught my interest in UEG. As such, being a Rising Star allowed me to compete for leadership roles within UEG that would have been difficult to do without the award.
Joost PH Drenth, The Netherlands, Rising Star 2004
What meant winning the UEG Rising Star Award to you and how has your career developed since you received the award?
The logical answer would be “a lot”. On the other hand, I have to say “really a lot”, indeed. There are different reasons to say that. First, the competition is very tough and the selection process, too. So, winning the award means that you did a great job and it is great that a European expert community appreciated that. Second, usually you are well known in your research field and, more in general, in your country. However, winning the UEG Rising Star Award gives you the opportunity to be known by the whole European medical community, and this helps to increase your visibility and enlarging your contacts for new amazing collaborations. Third, UEG keeps very much in mind who won the UEG Rising Star Award and makes lots of efforts to involve them and to support their activities. In practice, this means a lot for your research or clinical activity. In conclusion, I have to say that the UEG Rising Star Award is a great opportunity and the decision to apply for that was one the best one I took in my life! Good luck with your application!
Edoardo Vincenzo Savarino, Italy, Rising Star 2016
What is the right moment and career stage to apply for the Rising Star Award and what will increase candidates’ chances to receive it?
I find it difficult to pinpoint the right moment or career stage to apply for UEG’s Rising Star Award. After all, there are so many different paths to a successful career! In any case, I believe a critical aspect is to show that you have a vision. You might still only have one or two key publications in your CV, but if you appropriately describe how these are having a major impact in your field, while further fueling your independence, I would say your chances of being awarded will greatly increase. On this note, getting involved with UEG activities, namely those promoted by UEG Education and the Young Talent Group, may help in both expanding and solidifying your track record and individuality. This type of undertakings shows how passionate you are about your work and career, an essential pre-requisite for thriving as a successful scientist. This will certainly transpire in your application.
Rui Castro, Portugal, Rising Star 2015
Do you have any tips for Rising Star Award applicants? What should they consider and what should they focus on?
First of all, it is crucial to make yourself familiar with the content of the application form and the required formalities. This includes having an updated list of publications and H-index. Then, you should think carefully about how you want to present yourself and your research. This is the most important part of the application and it might be helpful to consult a mentor/senior colleague to get the broad view of your research accomplishments. Then you need to work on presenting this in a short but precise way. Again, it can be helpful to show the text to colleagues and get their feedback.
Johan Burisch, Denmark, Rising Star 2019
Do you have any tips for researchers from countries that offer fewer scientific opportunities? How can they compete in the run for the Rising Star Award?
There are two key tips that I would like to give researchers aspiring to become a Rising Star:
Firstly, choose your supervisor and mentor very wisely. Make sure that your supervisor/mentor has a track record of developing and supporting young researchers and also has time to dedicate for you.
Secondly, try to spend some time abroad, even if this is for a few months (obviously the longer the better) in a centre of excellence where you can learn a research technique and complete a research project. This is an important step in establishing a longstanding collaboration, becoming an independent researcher and increasing your research productivity. Finally, attend international congresses (such as UEG) to get inspiration and research ideas.
Emmanuel Tsochatzis, Greece, Rising Star 2014
How did you experience receiving the Rising Star Award and presenting your research on the stage?
I was leaving home after a very busy day attending my patients with pancreatitis. I closed my office’s door and checked my email on my smartphone. There it was, a message starting with the sentence: "UEG Rising Star Award 2017: Congratulations". It was absolutely awesome and I embraced a colleague who was nearby. The UEG Rising Star Award is very special to me, because it recognizes the effort of young people trying to advance in the field of research, to develop their own line of investigation, to lead projects and collaborate with other colleagues. The most important part of my talk was my last slide: I thanked my Mentor Miguel Pérez-Mateo, who died in 2008. He told me the most important tips and concepts about a research career, encouraged me to be active in education and research, and always supported me, it was the perfect moment to remember him.
Enrique de-Madaria, Spain, Rising Star 2017
Has the Rising Star Award made an impact on your career so far?
I was very honoured to receive the UEG Rising Star award in 2018 after being nominated by the European Pancreatic Club. For me the award is all about exposure and connections. It is not merely a recognition of past achievements but a real boost for my career. It gave me the opportunity to expose my research at the UEG week where I could reach out to an audience of basic scientists and clinicians working in different areas of gastroenterology. Moreover, UEG delegated me in 2019 to attend the annual meeting of the Japanese Society for Gastroenterology, a truly unique opportunity meeting new colleagues and establish new connections in a country I never had visited before.
Ilse Rooman, Belgium, Rising Star 2018
What was your motivation to apply for the Rising Star Award and what are your expectations?
I was inspired to apply for the Rising Star Award as I am well aware of the UEG and the fantastic work they do, as well as having admiration for previous Rising Stars. As one of a pair of clinically active parents I have worked tremendously hard to establish my research programme and my independence. Following my lab’s recent successes, with the support of mentors and my national society the time was right to put myself forward for this prestigious award. By nature it is normal to question and I think often underestimate what you have achieved, but you have to be brave, back yourself and apply for awards like this. Winning this award has been a tremendous honour. It genuinely helps forge my confidence, quashing some of those inevitable doubts about what I have devoted my career towards. It is a great opportunity to share my current research and ideas with a wide audience and fantastic stepping stone for my ongoing translational research.
Thomas Bird, UK, Rising Star 2019
Neurogastroenterology is one of most enigmatic subfields of gastroenterology. I have devoted my past 10 years to the study of innervation, neuroplasticity and neuro-inflammation in the enteric nervous system, particularly in the pancreas and large intestine. The UEG Rising Star Award will enhance my visibility, open new possibilities for building novel research networks, and thereby increase my chances to make even greater contributions to the field in the near future. Owing to the active integration of the awareness to the organization and course of the congress, I will closely interact with promising researchers from all around the world and get inspiration from their brilliant ideas for my research. I therefore think that the biggest advantage of being a Rising Star is the unique networking opportunity behind it.
Ihsan Ekin Demir, Germany, Rising Star 2019
Attend the “Rising Stars in gastroenterology and hepatology from Europe and Japan” session in the Young GI Lounge at UEG Week Barcelona 2019, and join the informal get-together with the presenters at the end of the session!