Testimonials from students from previous years
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French-German Summer School 2013 in Giessen
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From August 19 to 30, 2013, the first “French-German Summer School for the Promotion of Veterinary Science” took place in Giessen. This program offers German- and French-speaking PhD students the opportunity to establish contacts and gain insight into various research projects.
Before our participation, we did not realize that the Summer School is mainly focused on PhD students. Nevertheless, with regard to the question of how to continue after graduation, it was very convenient for us as 10th semester students.
We had the opportunity to participate in practical courses and seminars in the fields of pharmacology, parasitology, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology and learned basic molecular biology working methods. In addition, we organized one day through our own lectures and most recently visited MSD Intervet in Schwabenheim.
In addition to participants from German veterinary universities, PhD students from Lion, Toulouse, Nantes, Vienna and Bern were also present. We enjoyed the two weeks in Giessen very much. We learned a lot and had a great time with the PhD students from the other universities. tudes. Therefore, we would like to thank our faculty for covering the costs of travel and accommodation.
The next Summer School will take place in Nantes – we recommend to participate!
Anja Schock and Peter Venjakob
French-German Summer School 2014 in Nantes
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This year, the French-German Summer School was hosted by the “Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire, Agroalimentaire et de l'alimentation de Nantes / ONIRIS” and focused on stem cell research. Young researchers from Germany, Austria, Belgium, France and Switzerland traveled to Nantes to participate in the two-week program on the subject “Biotherapy and regenerative medicine: cells, genes, bioanalysis, animal models”.
Almost all of the 18 participants had veterinary backgrounds and worked in a variety of positions – both PhD students / doctoral candidates and postdocs were represented. I was pleased to see that the research areas of the participants were also very diverse, which was seen as very positive by all. They ranged from disease patterns in equine medicine to translational medicine, virology, fish diseases, nutritional physiology, and basic research in cell regeneration and biochemistry, with most working with cell cultures in various forms.
The organization of the FGS was carried out by Fanny Kieken, Nina Doumbadze and Marie Caparros, who work at ONIRIS as project managers in a superior capacity for research and supervision of PhD students. Thanks to their dedication and excellent preparation, we were able to follow a very professionally organized weekly schedule during the two weeks, which included many varied events such as technical lectures, practical methodology courses and field trips (industrial laboratories, animal testing facilities, etc.). In addition, the organizers created an appealing atmosphere, which, thanks to well-portioned breaks with excellent culinary catering, provided space for interpersonal exchange and the expansion of one's own network. This was in keeping with the basic idea of the FGS – after all, in addition to learning hard skills, it is also about expanding the important soft skills. A good scientist in the making is not only characterized by professional expertise, but above all by the ability to be inspired by other points of view and to possess the appropriate social skills, not only to share one's own experiences with others, but also to learn new things from others. All participants were able to present their research projects in the minicongress and thus there was an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas about recurring problems and also difficulties around scientific work.
Unfortunately, there were not participants from all invited universities. For the future, it would therefore be desirable to further establish the FGS as a fixed event in order to draw more attention to the research area, which is often underrepresented in veterinary studies. We would like to emphasize that events of this kind represent a great opportunity for veterinary medicine to promote young scientists and to offer new perspectives. However, this also requires the willingness to financially support the respective participants. Both the Berlin and Vetsuisse faculties set a good example in this respect, for which we would like to express our sincere thanks once again.
In any case, the participants all agreed that such events broaden the scientific horizon and show perspectives for the future professional life in science.
Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the organizers for the professional implementation of a forward-looking idea of the French-German platform for young researchers in veterinary medicine. Our special thanks go of course to the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the FU Berlin as well as the dean's office of the Vetsuisse Faculty, who made this profitable meeting possible with their financial support.
Hannah-Sophie Braun (FU Berlin)
Mario Benn (UZH Zurich)
French-German Summer School 2017 in Toulouse
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In 2012, all university-based veterinary schools from the German (Berlin, Giessen, Hanover, Munich, Leipzig, Vienna, Zurich-Bern) and French (Alfort, Liège, Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse) language areas signed a collaboration. In this collaboration, the participating institutions decided to create a “French-German Summer School” every year. In the summer of 2013, this summer seminar took place for the first time at the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Justus-Liebig-Universität in Giessen. Since then, this seminar has been repeated annually at one of the participating universities. Each educational institution is represented in the Summer School by up to two postgraduate students. Non-veterinarians are also welcome. They can then spend two weeks discussing a current topic in veterinary research.
In July 2017, the French-German Summer School was held at the École Nationale Vétérinaire in Toulouse (ENVT) in France. This year, the focus was on resistance to anti-infectives. The first thing that probably comes to mind is antibiotic resistance, which is always a hot topic of discussion. The fact that parasites, viruses and fungi can also develop resistance is often not quite as well understood. Through lectures, seminars and practicals, we were given a very broad insight into the state of research on resistance in the fields of microbiology, virology and parasitology. Lectures were given not only by lecturers of ENVT but also by international scientists (e.g. Prof. Vaillancourt of the Université de Montréal or Prof. Schwarz of the FU Berlin).
Practical exercises in parasitology and microbiology made the mechanisms of the development of resistance clearly understandable. At the current state of research, resistance unfortunately seems to be unavoidable, which is why we were encouraged to take measures to curb the progression of anti-infective resistance. Among other things, we were shown by means of concrete practical case studies that the use of antibiotics in veterinary practice can often be avoided without having to forego an efficient therapy.
In addition to the main program of the Summer School, ENVT offered us a very rich social program to present the region around Toulouse. Thus, we visited a broiler fattening farm awarded as “Label Rouge”. This seal of quality is awarded by the French Ministry of Agriculture and stands for species- and environment-friendly animal husbandry. In order to receive this seal of approval, free-range husbandry and a long rearing period of the animals are essential. On the weekend, we were taken on an excursion. We drove to Albi, 80 kilometers away, where we visited the impressive cathedral and the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. Afterwards, a visit to a winery followed by a wine tasting was on the agenda. The winemaker of the “Domaine Peyres Roses” in Gaillac attaches great importance to naturalness and sustainability: The winery produces an organic wine with the additional designation “biodynamic”, which stands for natural diversity and a natural product.
In conclusion, the French-German Summer School 2017 was an all-round successful event from which I was able to take away a lot, scientifically as well as culturally and personally. This collaboration between different veterinary training institutions on an international level gives participants an excellent opportunity to establish contacts and promotes the creation of a network that would not have come about in this form.
French-German Summer School 2019 in Liège
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The French-German Summer School is an annual program - a cooperation of the German and French speaking universities in Europe. Two PhD students from each of the universities in Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Germany meet for a 12-day program consisting of lectures, practical exercises and demonstrations, embedded in a stimulating social program of excursions and events.
This year's Summer School took place in Liège, Belgium. Pavulraj Selvaraj, PhD student of the Institute of Virology, and Maren Ewert, PhD student of the Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Biometry, came from Freie Universität Berlin.
The topic of the 2019 French-German Summer School was “Sports Medicine in Dogs, Horses and Humans” and had interesting lectures for each of the 21 participants. The program, organized by Dominique Votion and Tanja Art, was very diverse - the individual days were each assigned to different organ systems or disciplines. For example, on “Cardiac Day” there were lectures and demonstrations on echocardiography and the effect of training on heart morphology and function, on “Nutrition Day” there were lectures on myths and reality in sport horse feeding and much more. Furthermore, physiotherapy in small animals, orthopedics, imaging techniques and musculoskeletal diseases were addressed.
Scientific exchange between the participants was also encouraged by a round of presentations of the individual research projects as well as discussion sessions.
The weekend was enlivened by a guided tour of the city and an excursion to the Cynodrome, a dog racing track near Liège. After a guided tour and demonstration of the facility, we watched the dogs train while enjoying typical Belgian “boulet frites”.
We were also given a personal tour of SPORTmedicine. Among other things, we completed the 1-mile walk test together with some staff members of the University of Liège, testing a study to predict the maximum amount of oxygen that the body of healthy adults can absorb during exercise.
Our special thanks go to the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the Freie Universität Berlin for their financial support. All participants agreed that the French-German Summer School is an important event to promote professional exchange between scientists or veterinarians even across national borders and to broaden scientific horizons!
Finally, we would like to thank the organizers from the University of Liège for two exciting and educational weeks with a varied program!
Pavulraj Selvaraj & Maren Ewert