Everything about this year’s ABC Networking Day was in the spirit of connecting the ABC’s ‘treasures’ and initiating new collaborations.
This year, the meeting took place at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute, a beautiful venue right next to Oosterpark. The day was very well attended by a large group of enthusiastic ABC researchers. At the start of the day, all participants were asked to place a colored sticker on their badge representing the ABC theme that they most identified with. This way, people could spot whether there was research overlap right away and potentially discuss common interests. The stickers were met with enthusiasm; some participants placed one sticker on their badge; other participants preferred rainbow badges with many stickers.
The program was opened by Harm Krugers, member of the board of directors of ABC, who reflected on the developments and achievements within the ABC in the past year, with a focus on the different ABC themes. He expressed his excitement about the potential of transdisciplinary collaborations that these themes could bring about, and his wish that this year’s meeting would be the place where such collaborations would be initiated. During his welcome, Harm briefly gave the floor to Cyriel Pennartz who memorized Prof. Fernando Lopes da Silva, who passed away at the age of 84 on 7 May 2019. Prof. Lopes da Silva was a professor at the UvA from 1980 to 2000 where he founded the Cognitive Science Center Amsterdam (CSCA), the predecessor of the current ABC as we know it. Finally, Harm shared the news of an important transition within the ABC.
After leading ABC’s path and channeling ABC’s strengths in the ABC Themes and Transversal Perspectives, Richard Ridderinkhof is now passing on the role of ABC’s Scientific Director to Birte Forstmann, who will add with her vision and expertise to the further success of ABC.
Figureheads representing the ABC themes
The day continued with six amazing talks of figureheads of the different ABC themes. Before the break we listened to Umberto Olcese representing the theme of Perception, Attention & Consciousness, Anouk Schrantee representing Translational Science and Carien Lansink from Plasticity, Memory and Language. After the break we had Ruth van Holst for Decision Making, Impulse Control and Rationality, Hilde Geurts representing Individual Differences and, finally, Rajat Thomas from (Neuro)computational modelling. All speakers represented their theme enthusiastically and presented exciting and high-quality research results. There were several direct invitations to the audience to initiate collaboration which we hope resulted in a lot of new connections!
After a lovely lunch, the day continued with a session of flash talks, in which we had thirteen speakers present their work in brief (3-4 minutes) talks. There was a great variety in the speakers, both in terms of career level (ranging from PhD student to Professor level) and in terms of research theme and topic. The format was ideal to showcase all the exciting work that is being done in the ABC at the moment, and again, to initiate potential collaborations.
After the program ended, some of the ABC participants stayed at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute for the AMBition (Amsterdam Mind and Brain symposium) event that took place directly afterwards. AMBition is a coalition of four leading neuroscience research institutes in Amsterdam, including ABC.
A big thanks to all the speakers for their enthusiasm and for presenting their fascinating work, and to everyone who visited the ABC day for making it such a great day. We hope to see you again next year!
Jorien Treur, on behalf of the Organizing Team
Suzanne Oosterwijk, Marte Otten, Jorien Treur
Get a glimpse of the day's energy in pictures in the ABC Networking Day 2019 Album!