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EAVI2020 Students in Focus: Yoann Aldon (Imperial College London, UK)

Bookshelves with an old door in the middle and overlaid text: eavi2020 students in focus

Feature image by Nino Carè from Pixabay

Throughout the past four years, the students of EAVI2020 have worked tirelessly in the Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme. This is a work package of the EAVI2020 project dedicated to the employment and training of young scientists in Europe. It comprises of scientific fellowships, student exchange, wet workshops, and a PhD Programme to maximise the training of the next generation of young scientists in the field of vaccine development. It is now time we shine a positive spotlight on the students to hear from them about their experience in the programme, lessons learned and what they hope to achieve moving beyond EAVI2020s. ‘EAVI2020 Students in Focus’ will be a regular news feature so be sure to subscribe to the EAVI2020 newsletter to get the latest updates.  In this issue, we feature Yoann Aldon and Athina Kilpelïnen.

Yoann Aldon

Being involved in the EAVI2020 consortium as a PhD student was a very positive experience. Over the 4 years of my PhD in Prof Robin J. Shattock’s group at Imperial College, this remarkable H2020 European project set up biannual courses and promoted student mobility between research groups. In addition to being exposed to new techniques and knowledge, these courses, as well as the annual meetings, strengthened collaborations and bonds among students and collaborators across Europe. Throughout my PhD years, I had the chance to be involved in several projects within the EAVI2020 and found that the consortium network was very supportive of students.

It goes without saying that as students we felt privileged travelling to cities around the continent where we enjoyed visits and nights out together. Another appealing quality of this project was the academic background diversity of the students and researchers involved which created a favourable environment for solving scientific questions rapidly. In my opinion, the EAVI2020 consortium represents a great example of how the European Union is a leader in academic research and can foster successful and efficient public-private partnerships with vaccine products ready for clinical trials within a limited period of time. On a more personal level, I graduated last summer 2019 and I am proud to have been an EU-funded PhD student. I have now joined the group of one of the EAVI2020 partners in Amsterdam, Pr. Rogier W. Sanders, and started my post-doc this January 2020. I am grateful for the opportunities, courses and energy the EAVI2020 gave me and I can only wish that many more consortiums like this one will be funded by the EU.

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