Last week, 62 ACS PhD candidates joined the two-day ACS PhD Retreat in hotel Kontakt der Kontinenten, Soesterberg. The aim of the retreat was for the PhD candidates to get to know the research within ACS, to get to know each other, to profit from career advice and perspectives, and last but not least, to have fun!

The program was opened by ACS director prof. Jolanda van der Velden who spoke about challenges while doing a PhD. In her talk, Jolanda provided the ACS PhD candidates with insights about her own PhD time and lessons she learned during her career. The next day, another keynote was provided by dr. Ralph Meulenbroeks, who spoke about motivation in a scientific career, what motivation entails and how to use those insights in your own career and network.

Selected participants were also given the opportunity to present their work in a plenary or parallel session, with a poster or via an informal round table discussion. The participants could enjoy two rounds of workshops, ranging from "Resilient Mind" and "Pitch Like A Champ" to "A career in clinical research" and "MD-PhD: Go or No-Go". Additionally, there were talks by people working in industry after a PhD, to provide insight in the options outside of academia after a PhD. Importantly, there was ample time for the participants to discuss their new insights and socialize during the BBQ, the pubquiz and the party.

Lastly, there were six prizes awarded to participants for their scientific input! Best plenary presentation was awarded to Carmen Yap, best parallel session presentations were awarded to Rianne Schoon, Osman Esen and Karl Harber, and best posters were awarded to Rianne Baelde and Eva Aalbregt. Congratulations!