Junior group leaders in the life sciences establish JUGGLE platform for scientific exchange and networking
Network provides for the exchange of information and news on the use of joint research resources, career development, and research support offered by public funding agencies
The field of life sciences is at the crossroads of biology and medicine and is a key component of the research portfolio of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Top-flight research into closely related aspects using analogous methodologies is undertaken at both the Mainz University Medical Center and on the main JGU campus. Fifty leaders of junior research groups working in the fields of biology, pharmaceutical sciences, and biological chemistry, at the University Medical Center, the Institute for Molecular Biology (IMB), and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now joined together with the intention of improving project coordination and thus making their research even more effective. "Life sciences are at the core of research in the 21st century," explained Professor Georg Krausch, President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "Thus we continue to expand our efforts in this interdisciplinary scientific field at Mainz at the highest level and do everything in our power to support young researchers." As a consequence, the university administration is promoting the JUGGLE network for leaders of life sciences junior research groups. "Making knowledge available through commonly accessible platforms is in keeping with current strategies aimed at enhancing work at the academic level. The life sciences have enormous potential for interdisciplinary approaches to research, teaching, and health care. The JUGGLE network will thus help further augment the profile of Mainz as a science hub," said Professor Ulrich Föstermann, the Chief Scientific Officer of the Mainz University Medical Center.
"JUGGLE is an acronym for Junior Group Leaders in Life Sciences at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Its aim is to provide this group of ambitious young researchers with a platform for interdisciplinary, professional interaction. It should help initiate new projects and ensure that available resources are shared," explained Dr. Christian Berger and Dr. Robin White, both spokesmen of JUGGLE. Dr. Ana Rogulja-Ortmann added: "We consider it one of the network’s main functions to teach leadership skills in view of the fact that the demanding daily scientific routine only seldom allows enough time to acquire the corresponding abilities. In addition, we are planning to initiate a mentoring program for doctoral candidates in our field that will be supported by members of the JUGGLE network. We also intend to organize further training and professional development programs designed to meet the needs of the leaders of the life sciences junior research groups."
The members of the JUGGLE network also want to establish contact with policy makers at the university as well as at the state and federal level. "JUGGLE will enable us to support scientists throughout their different career stages and work with the university administration to improve working conditions," said Dr. Sven Horke, who, together with Berger, White and Rogulja-Ortmann, is one of the initiators of the platform. "This should provide a tremendous boost to our young research talents – an objective that is shared by JUGGLE, Mainz University, and the University Medical Center and that will help Mainz stand out as a major research hub."