Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


APECS 10 year logoapecs be logo 500pxThe Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) organized a career development workshop at The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Biology Symposium

Location: KU Leuven, Kolenmuseum, room KOL 0.04, Charles Deberiotstraat 32, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium

Date: 9 July 2017

APECS Workshop at SCARBio17

One day ahead of the recent 2017 SCAR Biology Symposium, APECS organized an early career scientist workshop for conference participants (and anyone else interested). Lovely weather, sci-comm, fabulous guests, … read further for some impressions.

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The conference, which brought >300 Antarctic scientists from all over the world together, was scheduled to start on Monday. For this workshop, 37 people (+4 speakers) met already on Sunday morning on KU Leuven premises. The main workshop theme was “communicating with a non-scientific audience”. After getting organized, we jumped right in with José Xavier, scientist in Portugal and England, explaining what science communication is and why it is important. Siska Waelkens, working for the Faculty of Science of KU Leuven, then talked about the bridge that scientists need to build between themselves and others to facilitate mutual understanding. We continued with a coffee break (also very important for communication…). Stéphanie Brabant from France TV subsequently showed footage recorded during the recent Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition. She showed both good and less good examples of live interviews, outlining aspects that are critical to keep in mind when being interviewed as a scientist. Lastly, we switched topics with Grant Humphries (from up next, talking about scientific data management – another crucial issue for basically any scientist.


Leuven spoiled us with perfect weather, so lunch was quickly relocated to the park just outside the building. In the afternoon we split up into two working groups: delving deeper into writing for non scientific audiences (for example school kids) and giving an interview with journalists. We briefly re-gathered, exchanged experiences and enjoyed another coffee break, before again splitting up for two parallel breakout sessions. This time one group worked with Grant through some examples of sharing code and/or data with github (an extremely useful tool, for those that don’t know it). In the other group we practised giving “lightning presentations” – in this case short two minute presentation without supporting slides. Not an easy task at all, so worthwhile practicing! After this long day, we met once more to briefly tell each other what we learned and saying our goodbyes (although many met shortly after again at the conference icebreaker). It was a great day, I’d say! Many thanks to our supporters (AntEco & SCADM, as well as LBEG as host), speakers, and of course also the participants!



Sunday 9 July 2017
Location: KU Leuven, Kolenmuseum, room KOL 0.04, Charles Deberiotstraat 32, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium

09:30 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:45

Presentations "Communicating with a non-scientific audience" Part I


  • José Xavier (Researcher, University of Coimbra & British Antarctic Survey)
  • Siska Waelkens (Science Communication Expert, KU Leuven)

10:45 - 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:00

Presentation "Communicating with a non-scientific audience" Part II

  • Speaker: Anne-Claire Bihan-Poudec (Journalist, Under the Pole Expeditions) and Stéphanie Brabant (Journalist, Thalassa/France TV)
12:00 - 12:30

Special data session: “Sharing is caring - on Antarctic data management”

  • Speaker: Grant Humphries (Data Manager, Black Bawks Data Science)

12:30 - 13:30

Lunch Break

13:30 - 15:00

Breakout Sessions - Part 1:

  • Topic 1: Give an interview (with Stephanie Brabant and Jose Xavier)
  • Topic 2: Write a press release (with Anne-Claire & Siska)
15:00 - 15:15 Coffee Break

15:15 - 16:45

Breakout Sessions  - Part 2

  • Topic 3: Prepare a lightning presentation
  • Topic 4: Share your data (with Grant Humphries)

16:45 - 17:00

Wrap Up

Later (Optional)

Free time / Dinner (not included)

20:00 (optional)

Conference reception

Workshop Support

  • AntEco - SCAR Scientific Research Programme on “State of the Antarctic Ecosystem”
  • SCADM - SCAR Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management
  • KU Leuven, Laboratory of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Genomics (Host)
AntEco logo   SCADM Logo
 KUL logo LBEG logo 

Workshop Organizing Team

Henrik Christiansen - Belgium - Chair

Benoit Durieu - Belgium

Charlène Guillaumot - Belgium/France

Franz Maximilian Heindler - Belgium

Claudia Maturana - Chile

Igor Stelmach Pessi - Belgium

Eveline Pinseel - Belgium

Jose S. Seco - Portugal

Gerlis Fugmann - APECS International Directorate, Germany

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A45
14473 Potsdam
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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