Purpose of the meeting

NLSEB PhD/Postdoc meeting is an online meeting organised by the Netherlands Society for Evolutionary Biology (NLSEB) for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows who investigate evolutionary processes in any scientific field. Our aim is to bring early-career researchers together and offer networking opportunities with fellow researchers in a scientific environment. To achieve this goal, we offer a session in which participants pitch their research interests to facilitate the interaction between researchers  and plenty of workshops,  to improve both transferable and specialised skills.

Registration opens on Monday the 22nd of March and will close on Wednesday the 14th of April (23.59 CET) 2021 and can be accessed via the following link: https://www.formdesk.com/nlseb/NLSEB2021_PhD_postdoc

There is no registration fee for this meeting and all participants are welcome. However, in case of too many subscriptions, precedence will be given to researchers affiliated with a Dutch research institution.  If you registered for a workshop and cannot join, please send an e-mail to PhD-PostDoc_Meeting@NLSEB.nl and cancel the registration, so we can give your spot to someone else.

Overview of the meeting

April 19

08.30 – 09.00 Opening of online meeting
09.00 – 09.30 Welcome, general introduction and introduction to Zoom platform
09.30 – 10.30 Pitch introduction of participants
10.30 – 10.45 Coffee break
10.45 – 12.15 Workshop session I*
12.15 – 13.00 Lunch with break out rooms

April 20

08.30 – 09.00 Opening of online meeting
09.00 – 09.15 Welcome and announcement of the pitch introduction winners
09.15 – 10.45 Workshop session II*
10.45 – 11.00 Coffee break
11.00 – 12.30 Workshop session III*
12.30 – 13.00 Lunch with optional lunch break out rooms

*all workshops are briefly explained below the section ‘Workshops

Introduce yourself
Meeting other researchers for potential collaborations or to share struggles or successes is hard in the current COVID-19 times. Therefore, next to the workshops, the participants will be able to present themselves and their work with pitch introductions at the start of the meeting. You can even compete for the price of the best pitch presenter! If you registered for participation, please make a PowerPoint slide in widescreen (16:9) size and convert it to PDF format. Send your PDF to PhD-PostDoc_Meeting@NLSEB.nl before Wednesday the 14th of April (23.59 CET) 2021 stating your full name and registration number in the email. Keep in mind that your pitch presentation cannot be longer than 1 minute. Please note that the slides will be shared with all other participants for the purpose of presenting them and the competition.

Furthermore, you are most welcome to join us in our lunch break out rooms and dive into deeper discussions with other participants.


The NLSEB PhD/postdoc meeting includes 10 interesting workshops for transferable and specialised skills. If you want to advance online collaboration through git and GitHub, spend less time coding in R through test-driven development, improve the graphical representation of your research, or you want to be able to explain your work in a clear and concise way, you should definitely register for our meeting. Also early-career scientists interested in hearing more about writing successful proposals, tackling challenges in academic careers and listening to real examples of challenges from young PIs, are here at the right place. If you want to hone your specialised skills, we offer workshops on bioinformatics, meta-analysis, and obtaining diversification rates from phylogenies.

Online collaboration using git and GitHub (Richel Bilderbeek, UU – Sweden)
In this hands-on introductory workshop, we will work on a (nonsense, plain-text) manuscript together as a team. As an exemplary team member, you will create tasks, assign yourself and show what you are working on, using a GitHub Project Page. Additionally, using git, we will keep a version history that both allows us to work independently, as well as to merge our work.
It is assumed you have a (free) GitHub account and git (e.g. ‘Git Bash’ for Windows) installed. Please send your GitHub username to richel@richelbilderbeek.nl before April 19th 9:00.

Workshop visual content (Remy van Kats, NIOO-KNAW)
Publications, proposals and websites all benefit from having good visual examples that make the text and data they contain more clear. But: what separates good content from the examples that only distract from what you’re trying to tell the audience? In this visual content workshop, I’d like to take a look at what makes some graphic communication more suited than others. How do you choose which colors to use? What’s the difference between a serif or a sans-serif? When does a message stick and what are often made ‘errors’? By looking at different examples and analysing each of these, you’ll get the hang of the essentials in no-time.

A (very) brief introduction to Bioinformatics (Judith Risse, NIOO-KNAW & WUR)
Limit: 20 participants
In this workshop we will give you a hands-on introduction to the linux command-line, a few bioinformatics tools used in genome assembly and variant calling, and the interpretation of genomic data using a toy dataset. We will provide you with everything set up on a virtual machine you will have to download. You also have to install VirtualBox VMplayer. You should also have at least 2 CPU cores and 4Gb of memory available on your PC/laptop for the VM to run. We will of course provide detailed instructions on how to set this up.

Let’s talk about meta-analysis and research synthesis (Shinichi Nakagawa, UNSW – Australia)
Clearly, it is impossible to teach or learn meta-analysis in 90 min. So I want this workshop to be discussion-based using breakout rooms (Zoom). I will give an overview of what a typical meta-analysis looks like (~ 45 min). Then, we will discuss whether you conduct a meta-analysis on a topic you are working on? Limitations of meta-analysis? What other
kinds of research synthesis do we have? I hope that by the end of this workshop, all participants think that they could do a meta-analysis on their topic. Anybody from no experience to experts in meta-analysis is all welcome.

Proposal writing (Toby Kiers, VU Amsterdam)
Proposal writing is tricky for early career researchers because the opportunity for reading successful proposals can be limited. Moreover, the requirements and mannerisms are different across funding bodies. In this workshop, we have Toby Kiers, who has obtained a number of highly competitive research grants, and is a member of the ERC panel, to share her experience and strategies in proposal, abstract and CV writing.

Testing whether traits affect speciation and extinction rates (Rampal S. Etienne, RUG, and Leonel Herrera Alsina, UOA – Scotland)
Molecular phylogenies are generally believed to inform us about the diversification processes underlying them. We often see that some clades in a phylogeny diversify rapidly whereas others do not. One explanation is that there is a property of the species – a trait or a location – that promotes or reduces speciation and/or extinction. To test for such an effect, we have to distinguish it from diversification rate variability due to other, yet unknown, factors. The R package secsse allows one to test based on a birth-death model of diversification whether a property has an effect on diversification rates. In this workshop you will learn how to use it.

Spend less time coding using test-driven development (Richel Bilderbeek, UU – Sweden)
On average, 80% of the time we spend debugging. Test-driven development is a technique used by professional software developers to reduce this time, by writing tests before the actual code. Although this initially feels ‘inside-out’, it results in correct code quicker. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll write tests for simple functions to practice this way of developing.
It is assumed you can read basic R code and that you have an R environment (e.g. R Studio) installed.

Life of PI (Steven Ramm, Universität Bielefeld – Germany, Meike Wittmann, Universität Bielefeld – Germany, Melissah Rowe, NIOO-KNAW)
We like to share the experience of being a Principal Investigator (PI). This workshop will have three young and successful researchers to discuss the challenges of getting an academic position and pursuing a long-term academic career. We will have short talks from each speaker, then move on to more detailed discussion in break-out rooms.

Use Analytical Storytelling and learn how to pitch your research in a concise, clear and engaging manner! (Mabel Frumau, Presenting with Impact)
For many researchers it is a challenge to communicate their research in a concise, clear and engaging manner. The pitfall is often to want to say too much and get entangled in the abundance and complexity of all the information. So, how to fix this? How to be comprehensive about your research in just 3 to 5 minutes? In this 1,5-hour workshop, you will learn exactly this. We will start with the movie the Hobbit and will end with your research story, using Analytical Storytelling.

Identifying and tackling challenges in academia (Claudius van der Vijver, WUR)
This workshop spans over the three different sessions, registration for this workshop means that you cannot attend other workshops.
Early-career researchers are confronted with an array of challenges, either related to a career in science or doubts whether to stay in science. When facing these challenges, it helps to have a clear vision on one’s future career. Make explicit what your ambitions are, what environment makes you happy, what your expectations are and what your goals are for the future. This short workshop aims to help the participants with identifying their main challenges as a young academic (in science and beyond) via a “SWOT” analysis: identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. We will look for commonalities in challenges, solutions to these challenges and you will learn how to translate solutions into a SMART plan of action (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound).

Financial support

We are most grateful to the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) and The Graduate Schools for Production Ecology & Resource Conservation (PE&RC) and for Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS) for financial support of the meeting.

Organising committee

We are looking forward to meeting you! In case you have any questions or problems with the registration, please contact us.

Melanie Lindner
Yumi Nakadera
Karen Bisschop