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IRTG 1064 Retreat 2024 in Schloss Ringberg

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From March 13-15, 2024, 39 IRTG members travelled to the Ringberg Castle, a very special venue on the Tegernsee for the presumably last IRTG retreat of this SFB consortium.

Construction of the Ringberg Castle started in 1912, commissioned by Duke Luitpold in Bavaria to Friedrich Attenhuber, but was not finished during the Duke’s lifetime (deceased in 1973). He bequeathed the unfinished castle to the Max Planck Society (MPG) for exclusive use. Since then, the MPG has optimized the rooms for small meetings serving the sciences, and remains responsible for the upkeep and the management to this day.

Residing at Ringberg Castle is surely a pleasure for any scientist, but for our group of doctoral researchers, this was truly an amazing retreat venue! It is well-equipped for both conference-style meetings as well as smaller breakout sessions, but with idiosyncratic details and castle romance, all kinds of nooks and crannies that stoke the imagination (and in our case, the creative juices). It was a memorable retreat with scientific discussion, creative exchange and team-building.

The main activity was the “IRTG Connect-a-thon”, a fictive call for research grant proposals and the overarching exercise over the two days. The call required proposals to be made in groups, utilizing the expertise of all group members. The goals:

• Exchange of the student’s expertise gained during the duration of their doctoral research;
• Combining the diverse expertise within the field of chromatin research, unlocking high potential for innovation;
• Exploring potential in the IRTG for collaboration and fostering new connections between students;
• Promoting the idea that by working together, we are empowered to push the boundaries of science.

Written proposal forms were submitted, and the groups each gave short presentations of their topics.

The proposal titles were

  1. EvoGenesis Project: Directed Evolution for Planetary Transformation
  2. OmiAI: Leveraging Multiomics & AI for Disease Detection and Dietary Intervention
  3. Tailblazing Evolution: Solving Humanity's Problems One Swoosh at a Time
  4. ProxiGen: Mapping Tomorrow's Health Today
  5. MERF Initiative: Chromatin Dynamics of Extremophiles in the Face of Global Challenges
  6. Red Planet Resilience: Tardigrade Genetic Screen to Support Extraterrestrial Human Settlement (Winner!)

Interestingly, although the groups worked separately, there were some overlying common topics in the proposals: Evolution, high-throughput microsensors, Omics, space frontiers for settlement, preventing disease, impending hostility of Earth's climate.

The winning group received a symbolic check for 1,064,000,000 ChIP-Coins!

check irtg retreat 2024_winners_web

Many thanks to the Retreat Orga Team, Karl, Kiryl, Viola, Bihter, Emilia, Ana and Prateek, for their ideas, preparation of the retreat activities and their leadership!