ULLA21 a new successful chapter in the network annals
In July, the Faculty of Pharmacy hosted ULLA Summer School, the biannual event that brings together the future leaders in international pharmacy. As a result of the pandemic, seven days on site were redesigned to three days online. A challenge that did not prevent the meeting place from becoming a corona-secured success.
Every other year, the ULLA Summer School gather 200 PhD students and 50 researchers from nine of Europe's leading pharmaceutical institutes for knowledge exchange and networking. The event hallmark is an intensive mix of courses, poster sessions and social activities between the participants. Thus, an environment not easily transferred into a digital platform, yet the organising committee managed to build an interactive arena that washed away all signs of Zoom-fatigue.
“Participating in international conferences is one of the best parts of being a PhD student, so creating an event as interactive, fun and exciting as a real life event was indeed a challenge. Fortunately, the more tech-savvy PhD students in our organising committee really rose to this challenge. Using digital tools they shaped an online world that worked really well for poster sessions, spontaneous discussions and some highly appreciated social events,” says Lindon Moodie, Associate Senior Lecturer at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry.
The ongoing pandemic did not only affect the external framework of this year’s summer school. Covid-19 is a challenge where all aspects of pharmaceutical science can be crucial, therefore the virus made its mark on several of the courses offered. The program also highlighted a number of other current issues in pharmaceutical research, with extra focus on vaccines and antiviral and biological drugs.
"With an ambition to gather guest lecturers of the highest international class, our invitation generated great response from our ULLA counterparts. Perhaps the practicality of the online format worked in our favour as it allowed teachers to give courses without having to travel. Furthermore, the feedback from the participating students was very positive, and it was great to see the wide range of courses offered from across the pharmaceutical sciences, as well as the enthusiasm and scientific passion of younger, early career researchers,” says Lindon Moodie.
In summary, this year's summer school turned out not only another successful chapter in the annals of the ULLA network. For the organising committee at the Faculty of Pharmacy, it provided important exercise for the summer of 2022, already having gained the network's trust to host a new summer school next year. This time with the aim to welcome the attendees on site in Uppsala.
“To be able to host a meeting like this two years in a row is a great opportunity to create lasting ties and a common future for European pharmacy. Even though we are only just recovering from organising ULLA2021, we are really looking forward to ULLA2022, and the first planning meeting is not far away. The onsite format will present a different set of challenges, but above all the opportunity to welcome the ULLA network to Uppsala, show them all the great research that is going on and give them a real Swedish experience”.
FACTS ULLA SUMMER SCHOOL
- ULLA Summer School 2021 was arranged July 6-8 by the Faculty of Pharmacy at Uppsala University.
- The ULLA consortium was formed in 1992 by the universities of Uppsala, Amsterdam, Leiden and London. Today, another five leading pharmaceutical research institutes have joined the network.
- The primary aim of the ULLA network is to enhance collaboration within education and research in pharmaceutical sciences between the member universities.
- To give improved access to the combined resources of the institutions involved, ULLA provides grants for the exchange of MSc students, PhD students, postdocs and staff.
Associate Senior Lecturer
Professor of Pharmacognosy
text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt, Andrea Benediktsdottir a o.
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