It was two days of hard work and inspiring meetings within an international group of representatives of 15 leading research institutes in life sciences from all over Europe. That is how this year EU-LIFE Community Meeting may be summarized.

The purpose of the meeting was to integrate representatives of the EU-LIFE community and to exchange experiences in implementing best practices in the organization and management of research institutes.

The meetings were workshop-based and they were held within the framework of individual working groups, which included selected representatives of 15 member institutes. The representatives of the International Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Warsaw participated in 7 working groups, namely: Core Facilities; Gender Equality, Diversity & Inclusion; Grants & Funding; IT; Training & Recruitment; Science Communication, and Tech Transfer.

"The participation in the working group such as Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion  was an excellent chance to get to know all its members personally. It also allowed us  to participate in interesting discussions as well as gave us an opportunity to  exchange  good practices on the implementation of gender equality plans in individual institutions. We agreed on an action plan for the near future, including the preparation of a mentoring program for women," assessed Agnieszka Faliszewska, the deputy head in the HR Unit.

In turn, the IT Working Group meeting was held to conclude the Research Data Management Policy. Among other things, the participants discussed the topic of cataloguing, storing, and sharing large data sets. An outline of the group's action plan for the next 12 months was also laid out, assuming the creation of detailed guidelines for good practice in the IT security field.

In the Technology Transfer Working Group, the action plan for 2023 was discussed. There was also an intensive exchange session on the following topics: capital and start-up policies, proof-of-concept financing and de-risking strategies, ways to protect computer software, resources, and tools used in technology transfer. The Group also talked about frequenting events to promote scientific achievements and attract business partners.

The Grant & Funding Group summarized the statistics of the EU-LIFE institutes' grants, which is an important input to science policy documents.; Its representatives also exchanged information on the Horizon Europe program rules. "The most valuable part of the meeting for me was the "Re-connect" session, during which we made tour de tables, introducing each other and the institutional grants offices. Such experiences strengthen cooperation and build a sense of community," added Dorota Libiszowska, the head of the Grants Office.

As a part of the meeting, the Science Communication Working Group held a workshop on storytelling and so-called "inclusive communication" in the area of communicating research.  Participants also discussed the topics related to upcoming 10th anniversary of EU-LIFE and the organization of events highlighting this celebration.

Last but not least, the Core Facility Working Group discussed the next steps of preparing the CF Lifecycle Guideline and CF Benchmarking Report for 2021. Activities were planned for 2023, including, among others, improving the operation of the CFs through training course opportunities and Staff exchanges. In addition, WG members agreed to continue the Tech Watch seminars, through which the EU-LIFE community can explore the scientific technologies used in the partner institutes and establish collaborations. The exchange of experiences on conducting sustainability and energy savings was also an important topic. 

The next annual EU-LIFE Community Meeting is planned for June 2023 in Lisbon.