Four dinner table topics at the NLSEB 2019 conference


Table 1

Joint online teaching in evolutionary biology

Edwin Pos & Maurijn van der Zee

Following a recent education meeting of evolutionary biology teachers from WUR, UU and UL, a financially supported initiative was taken to develop an online 2nd year BSc evolutionary biology course. The idea is to involve all Dutch universities teaching such courses. The aim is a stand-alone online course that could also serve to cover deficiencies for MSc students, and from which contributors can also use parts to complement with own-profile on-campus teaching or practicals. It should save time and offer high-quality teaching to large numbers of students. Goal of this table is to make an inventory of interested people and institutes, decide on level and language of the course, brainstorm about form and content, and discuss practical issues such as examination and ECTS credits.


Table 2

Diversity in research teams: strategic thinkers and pragmatists

Raoul Van Oosten

  • Research is the combination of generalisation (figure: the broad part of the hourglass) and precision (the narrow part of the hourglass)
  • People have a natural attraction to one, such that those that see the bigger picture tend to miss details, and vice versa
  • In academia, permanent positions favour strategic thinking (i.e. generalisation) and, therefore, precision skills are filtered out at higher levels
  • I argue having people with affinity for details in a research group on a permanent basis has several benefits:
    • PIs can focus on strategic thinking
    • Research output increases because data analysis is more efficient
    • Students have someone to turn to regarding data and statistics
    • Long-term data can be managed more reliably




Table 3

National Science Agenda 2019 call

Jacintha Ellers

Last month the second call of the Dutch National Science Agenda (NWA) has been released. The NWA aims to bring together the full range of research institutions, private and public partners to address research questions driven by the Dutch general public. Proposals for the second NWA-ORC round should therefore not only address a topic that relates to one or more routes of the NWA but also be carried out by consortia build across the entire knowledge chain of research and innovation. The goal of this dinner table is for you to explore possible topics that may form the basis for a NWA proposal; and to connect to other researchers to build a consortium. So bring your NWA ideas to this table and find people to join up with!


Table 4

The first NLSEB PhD and post-doc meeting

Marcel Visser

In October/November 2019 NLSEB will organize the first annual PhD and post-doc meeting. This meeting aims to foster interactions between the ‘next generation of evolutionary biologists’. The goal of this dinner table is to brainstorm about the organization of this meeting with the PhD students and post-docs who are at NLSEB2019. What would you like to do at this meeting? In what form should this be organized? Do you want to invite an international speaker? This will be a meeting for, but also by, PhD students and post-docs and this dinner table meeting is to collect ideas, your ideas!