Graduate school Forum Scientium celebrated their 200th doctor

A PhD student holds a hammer nailing his thesis to a tree full of theses Micheal Jury was Forum Scientium's 200th doctor. Olov Planthaber

On May 24, Forum Scientium’s 200th doctor, Michael Jury, successfully defended his thesis on Modular hyaluronan-based hydrogels for 3D cell culture and bioprinting. His work very well represents the spirit of Forum Scientium, bridging medicine, natural science and engineering. 

But what is the general feeling in Forum now that 200 PhD students have graduated?  – Fantastic! It’s inspiring to see 200 creative and enthusiastic PhD students continue their careers within companies, academia, research institutes, organizations, and start-ups within Sweden and abroad. This network of former members is one of the great benefits of Forum Scientium, says Stefan Klintström, one of the programme directors for the graduate school.

For students coming from other cities and countries, Forum provides a community within which to network, collaborate, and share the common challenges of graduate studies and career building. Students at different stages of their studies mentor one another and share solutions to those challenges while expanding their knowledge of bordering disciplines. – This interdisciplinary knowledge is essential for any future career path and the Forum community makes it easy to cross these thresholds between disciplines in a relaxed, fun environment. In addition, as our members come from five departments, spread over three campuses, and two faculties, through Forum they can become familiar with ongoing work at LiU, including methods and equipment they have access to. All of these excellent benefits continue to draw students to become Forum members, Rozalyn Simon, programme director, clarifies.

As the now 200 former Forum students have moved to careers all over the world, Forum’s network has expanded around the globe. The research subjects have changed over 25 years, but the focus still lies at the interface between medicine, natural science and engineering. – Forum Scientium started with 24 PhD students and today we have grown to 65 members, 50 PhD students and 15 postdocs, that support each other, making their time at LiU beneficial for them as individuals, for their research groups, and for LiU, says Caroline Brommesson, programme director.

– Our future is bright! We have many ongoing monthly meetings, conferences, courses, and study visits. As an example, at the end of May 2022 we visited the Kavli institute (Trondheim Norway) where the members met the Nobel Prize winner Edvard Moser, and later the same day met with former Forum Scientium member Alma Åslund to learn about how rewarding it can be to work in a start-up company. In total eight visits to research intensive companies, research institutes and academic research groups were made during the two-day visit to Trondheim. The visits to companies, research institutes, and academia open the members’ eyes to the various possible positions available for them in the future while directly connecting them with people they can have as future contacts. We see this network expanding with every member that graduates and makes their way onward to successful careers. The programme directors emphasise that the support from LiU, the faculties of medicine (Medfak) and science and engineering (Tekfak) is vital and makes all of this possible. 

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