NextGenVis over (?)
The last workshop of the grant that funds my PhD, NextGenVis, took place last week in Pisa, Italy. I truly hope it’s only the formal end of the grant and our collaboration and friendship goes on.
A few days ago, on February 21st, it was the 3rd anniversary since I moved to Berlin to start my PhD. Time flies and it is incredible how many things happened to me in three years, both at the personal and the professional level. One of those things, one that makes me feel very privileged, is having been part of a fantastic network of visual neuroscientists and prestigious institutions, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network named NexGenVis (“Training the Next Generation of Visual Neuroscientists”).
Needless to say, when I joined the group I was nothing close to a visual neuroscientists, but rather an early stage researcher in the field of computer vision. I still remember my first workshop in York in 2016, where I attended talks by renowned visual neuroscientists that I did not know, with lots of slides with brain imaging figures that said absolutely nothing to me. I was faced with the decision of either ignoring all that to simply focus on my deep learning projects, passively attend the other five workshops that would come and dismiss the resources that were around me; or make an effort to learn about visual neuroscience and get something out of all this. I chose the latter and last week I was not only able to follow the presentations of my PhD fellows and other invited speakers in Pisa, but some of them were truly inspiring.
Not only has NextGenVis given me the opportunity to learn about visual neuroscience, but also it has been a very enriching personal experience and I have made good friends on the way. Just as an example, I have spent the weekend after the workshop with my friend Alessandro Grillini travelling around Tuscany and enjoying his and his parents’ hospitality. I would be very sad if the end of NextGenVis means the end of the personal network we have built. I hope that this is just the beginning of more mature future scientific collaborations and the continuation of valuable friendship.