Collegium Helveticum
In conversation

A Starting Point for Long-Term Collaboration

The event program is a central part of the fellowship experience at the Collegium. Each event is individual and organized around the fellows’ interests and work. The fellows can convene a meeting, organize a workshop, symposium, or conference, or make use of the exhibition spaces, but there are no specific expectations about what form the event may take. The Collegium’s staff make every effort to support the fellows in planning and hosting their own event.

Chloé Pasin held two workshops at the Collegium. The first, called “Sex and Gender in Immunity,” took place shortly before she started her fellowship, and the second, “Integrating Diverse Forms of Knowledge in Health Care Research,” towards the end of her stay at the Collegium. Organizing an event can add value to the fellowship project and the fellows’ academic development. In this conversation, Chloé shared her individual experiences and insights.

Chloé, you have organized two workshops at the Collegium. What value or benefit do you see in it for your fellowship?

The workshop was an important part and experience of my time at the Collegium. During the preparation, I regularly blocked off days to specifically think outside of my field of expertise and read papers that otherwise I would not have come across, as they are not directly linked to my current research projects. This has helped me gain new perspectives on my own field of research and develop new ideas for future research projects.

Did the workshop support the further development of your fellowship project?

I was lucky enough to be able to organize a first workshop at the Collegium a few months before starting my fellowship. It focused on the topic of sex and gender in immunity. Together with the invited speakers and some attendees, we wrote an opinion piece addressing the bottlenecks from basic science to public health and clinical applications. The article was recently published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. It was a great collaborative effort. The fellowship project and the second workshop I organized built directly on the insights from the first one.

What can you take away from your experience as a workshop organizer for your further academic career?

It is an excellent way to connect and exchange with experts from different fields. It definitely helped expand my network, especially internationally. Speakers and attendees appreciated not only having space for discussing important topics with other experts but also the hospitality and conviviality at the Collegium. It has been a great asset to be recognized as the host of a professional international workshop. Making a lasting impression is especially helpful when you first need to make a name for yourself in a new area of research.

What advice would you give to future fellows on what to do with the offer to organize their own event?

My advice is to take advantage of this opportunity! Think about what you are interested in. Did you recently come across some research or a talk that you found particularly intriguing? The event might be a good opportunity to invite the author. Are you thinking of taking your work in a new direction? The event might be another opportunity to connect with experts and start building collaborations outside of your own field of research.