The Netherlands' next generation of genomics researchers has launched an initiative to combine their expertise.

Question: What use is knowledge if you can't share it? Young scientists are full of ideas but have limited time and resources with which to work them all out. In addition, often the only person they can share their new insights with--or obtain their new insights from--is the one that is always nearby: the almighty professor. Wouldn't it be a great advantage if other people--especially those in the same career phase--were as close to a young scientist as their professor? Wouldn't it be great too for a young scientist to be able to discuss his or her latest ideas with people that are just as young, motivated, and dedicated? In the Netherlands, GeNeYouS has recently been set up to fill this 'information-flow' gap.

Genomic research in the Netherlands

The Netherlands Genomics Initiative aims to foster cohesive, revealing, and innovative research projects in the field of genomics by promoting collaboration between Dutch universities, research institutes, and private companies. Within this initiative there is also room for so-called 'breakthrough-projects' that give talented researchers the opportunity to test and realize some innovative and risky ideas. Even though the Netherlands Genomics Initiative does not specifically focus on young researchers, it recognizes their importance as the next generation of researchers and decision-makers. Which is why it started GeNeYouS--the Genomics Network for Young Scientists.

GeNeYouS is organized by young scientists themselves. Our broad objective is to create a platform for young scientists working in the field of genomics through which they can easily exchange information and which can be helpful in gaining knowledge and expertise.

Although the name "GeNeYouS" seems rather ambitious and self-confident, it clearly represents the positioning and objectives of the organization. First, the name as a whole gives an indication that this is a network for intelligent, talented people that have the potential to become distinguished investigators. Second, two other characteristics become clear by splitting the name in two: GeNe represents the research field of interest--genomics; YouS signifies the young character of GeNeYouS. Most members of GeNeYouS currently have a PhD or postdoc position in one of the large variety of research fields related to genomics. The breadth of genomics research is clearly represented in the fields of interest of the board members, which include human genetics, genetic epidemiology, plant bioinformatics, cell structure bioinformatics, protein bioinformatics, animal genetics, and embryo genomics.

Apart from the board, three commissions have been formed, each focused on one of the functions of GeNeYouS. First, the Commission on Education is primarily concerned with giving an overview of the existing courses, workshops, and other educational resources in the field of genomics in the Netherlands and abroad. Beyond this, the commission intends to investigate the need for specific education among young scientists and, eventually, to work towards filling in the gaps.

Second, the Commission on Internet and Public Relations takes care of our external communications. It makes sure that any important information is available on the Web site and is responsible for raising the profile of GeNeYouS. Questions and comments from both outside and within GeNeYouS are handled by this commission and passed on to the right person for an answer.

Finally, the Commission on Interaction is concerned with communication within the network. It sets up and takes care of an agenda of upcoming events, organizes discussion groups on important topics, and makes sure that every member of the network stays in touch.

Collaboration

The first signs of the success of GeNeYouS will be clear within a year from now, when a members' congress will take place. In the meantime, we are trying to ensure that GeNeYouS is represented at all important events, either through a presentation or workshop, or at least by our members being present. In this way, GeNeYouS aims to increase its membership, resulting in an extension of the network. In time, GeNeYouS will actively try to get in touch with other similar initiatives abroad, to increase its networking and information-exchange capacity internationally.

Join

Membership is free and open to anyone who is interested (including technicians and undergraduate students), but the focus is on young people who are conducting independent genomic research. GeNeYouS invites you to visit our Web site at www.geneyous.nl and enjoy the advantages of this expanding Dutch research network.