PhD candidates of the chair groups Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology and Laboratory of Microbiology went on a study trip to Japan and China in April 2011.
Friday 15th of April 2011 turned out to be a good start to a beautiful Dutch spring, but was also a perfect beginning for our study trip to Asia (15th April-1st May). Saturday 9:30 local time, of course without a good night's sleep, our party of 20 PhD students and Dr Servé Kengen of the Laboratory of Microbiology arrived at Beijing International Airport.
After 1.5 days of free time, including visits to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, we were warmly welcomed by Dr Dinghuan Hu, the Chief representative of WURChina (www.wurchina.com/). This session, held at the main building of The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (www.caas.net.cn), was the kick-off to our scientific programme in China. During the following 3 days, we were subsequently hosted by the Department of Energy and Resources Engineering of Peking University (www.pku.edu.cn/), the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science (www.im.cas.cn/) and the College of Resources and Environmental Sciences of the China Agricultural University (www.cau.edu.cn/ ). After a short visit to the Summer Palace on Wednesday afternoon, the group travelled by night train to Shanghai, where only one person caused some stress for the organization by being unable to distinguish Beijing 'south' railway station from Beijing railway station. The next day it was directly from our bed bunks into the chairs of the conference room of the School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology Shanghai Jiao Tong University (http://life.sjtu.edu.cn/). A joined symposium of SIPPE-CAS & Fudan University (www.sippe.ac.cn/ www.fudan.edu.cn/) brought us to the end of our scientific programme in China. After a day of sightseeing, we headed for Japan, unfortunately with the exception of six participants who travelled directly back to the Netherlands.
Because of the tragic events which had befallen Japan, our the scientific programme in Japan was shortened and the intended visits to Yakult Central Institute for Microbial Research and the Department of Biotechnology of the University of Tokyo had been cancelled, thus limiting our visit to the central part of Japan (Kansai region). On Sunday, we travelled to Spring8 where on Monday, as a part of our day programme, we had a peek at the world’s largest third generations synchrotron facility (www.spring8.or.jp/en/). A joined workshop with 4 different departments at Kyoto University (www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en) brought us to the old capital of Japan. Our Japanese scientific programme ended with a visit to the Graduate school of Biological Sciences of the Nara Institute Of Science and Technology (www.naist.jp/en/). Some additional free time in Kyoto and Osaka, before our departure on May 1st allowed us to recover from this intense programme.
Throughout our visits, we shared scientific knowledge during oral presentations, poster presentations and facility tours, and we were able to exchange cultures by joined social events. Thus living up to the aim of our study trip: To strengthen existing partnerships, look for new collaborations and allow the participating PhD students to broaden their vision in the field of Microbiology.
The organisation would like to thank all our sponsors and, of course, the hosting departments in both China and Japan, where we received a very warm welcome. An overview of the scientific programme is given below and a detailed report of the study trip can be found at Final Report PhD StudyTrip 2011.