International Society for Computational Biology

Regional Student Groups: A look-back at 2016

Science accelerates with the exchange of thoughts and ideas. With these intentions, Regional Student Groups (RSGs) plans events dedicatedly which have been beneficial in facilitating networking amongst students from computational biology community at the local regions. Furthermore, with 30 RSGs and still many more becoming part of the SC (including latest groups i.e. RSG-California + Nevada, RSG-Northeastern, USA, and RSG-Colombia), RSG program is truly representing the overall international perspective of the Student Council.

In the year 2016, the Student Council team initiated a survey under the title “Are you a happy RSG?” to measure the degree of content among our RSGs as well as to invite suggestions for things that could be improved. The survey has been pivotal to understand the impact as well as the requirements expected by the RSGs for the teams. Great feedback and suggestions have helped to frame the plans for the initiatives for the RSGs for the upcoming years. In addition to the survey, regular meetings were a great opportunity for RSG leaders, from different countries, to acquaint with each other.

Some of the other takeaways from this year’s events, conducted by RSGs, are as follows:

  • Significance of virtual seminars which aid in information transfer without logistic costs. It has been interesting to observe how RSGs have organized virtual events to cut-down logistic costs.
  • Conducting hackathons for computer programming as well as Wikipedia editing of computational biology related topics.
  • Organising café-style social events that provide an opportunity to the students to socialize and network with other peers over the topics of computational biology.
  • Hosting web-based online competitions.
  • Inviting virtual participation from other RSGs during the symposium proceedings.
  • Organizing one-day symposium in collaboration with other RSGs of the neighboring regions.
  • Utilizing open source platforms such as Bigmarker, GitHub and YouTube to share content with the world.
  • Promoting initiatives via social media platforms.

It is great to observe how different approaches are being employed, by RSGs across the globe, to carry out the main objective of promoting research and strengthening ties between both local and international student community. This year, due to their hard-work and commitment, RSG-Argentina and RSG-UK won the spotlight RSGs of 2016. We are excited to see what new developments and events RSGs will bring in 2017!

In case you missed it, our Spring 2016 Issue published a list of fun events held by RSGs over past two years that you can find here. Interested in joining or starting RSG? please visit our website for more information!

Written by Sayane Shome (@sayane_shome)