The Evomet Annual Meeting was held in Barcelona in November and included seminars and workshops, as well as networking activities.

Evomet is a 4-year Innovative Training Networks Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action, supported by the European Commission, that aims to transform how cancer metastasis is understood and treated. The Evomet consortium is formed by 13 institutions, which include several of the best academic, clinical and industrial centres working in cancer research and metastasis research in Europe, and its goal is to train 15 young researchers.

The 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs) and their mentors/supervisors came together for four days last November at IRB Barcelona in the 1st Evomet Annual Meeting. The event started with a welcome by project leader Dr. Roger Gomis, who said, “I expect great collaboration projects to come about from this meeting”. The welcome was followed by frame-setting sessions to allow participants to get to know each other, reflect on the project’s challenges and their expectations, and agree on common goals.

“The best part was the conversation between PIs and PhD students when they discussed challenges and tips on how to overcome them,” explained Jomar Sangalang, from Universite Paris-Saclay, about this session.

The participants also came up to speed with the state-of-the-art in cancer research through scientific seminars by key speakers on topics such as cancer stem cells and immune evasion, the influence of dietary fatty acids, immunoediting and immunotherapy resistance, epigenetics and inflammation, among others.

“I found the 1st Evomet Annual Meeting and the workshops highly engaging, well organised and a great opportunity for me not only to meet and greet my fellow colleagues, but to also develop my translational skills (e.g., science communication),” said Diogo Soares, a PhD student at IRB Barcelona.


The secondment programme: international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral

One of the trademarks of the Evomet programme is its well-balanced secondment structure, which is essential to expand the multidisciplinary and intersectoral training of ESRs. It is expected that each ESR will undertake at least two secondments of 2-3 months each, at least one of which will be in a country other than that of the host institution, and all ESRs will receive intersectoral exposure.

The stages, which seek to offer ESRs the full advantage of Evomet’s multidisciplinary composition and to further develop synergies between the partners, will be personalised and organised strategically, considering the overall research and training goals of the network.
“I feel truly privileged to be part of this network and have the support of the other 14 PhD students. It gives me more confidence that I can overcome problems and that I will always find someone who can give advice on lab techniques, as well as social struggles. I can’t wait for the next meeting!” said Juliane Heilig, from University of Basel.
“The first Evomet Meeting was a strong start for the network, where we got to do more than just basic networking; we made new friends. The meeting had many valuable workshops and talks by several notable cancer researchers. I am excited to be a part of such a fantastic consortium”, concluded Milos Lazic, PhD student at IRB Barcelona.