In today’s world, scientists of different fields need to work together – for their own success as well as for patients’ well-being. PhD programs, which provide an existing network, can facilitate this. Students in Zurich tell us what they think the future holds for them.
Photos & Video: Raphael Zubler
Beyond proton radiotherapy: collaborating across Europe
Simon Deycmar is part of a European Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network and participates in a program of 14 PhDs, organized in seven institutes.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to really collaborate. To see all the different mindsets, and all the different projects because we had nothing in common besides radiating cells,” he says. “We are at a step in science that we are so specialized that you cannot be the universal scientist anymore. I can explain how to put protons in a patient for nuclear therapy, but then there’s a chemist, a biologist and a clinician – all working on the same patient.”
Deycmar’s speciality in the group is proton radiotherapy: “On the one hand you’re in quantum mechanics – pure physics, on the other hand there’s some biology and chemistry taking place.”
“I had this huge opportunity to collaborate with people from Belgium, Oxford, Maastricht.” Deycmar explains: “I’m the only one doing protons. And because we all have these different settings it’s really important that we collaborate. No one is a specialist in everything.”
Deycmar continues: “We need to close the gap between industry and academia. Industry benefits from academic research so we should establish symposia to assemble researchers, physicians, and funders; they need to sit together in the same office to have a close connection.”