The COINS 2019 has started: Neniškytė and Butkus gave advice to young scientists

“Think about your network. The wider the network, the more help you will have in the future” – that is the advice for students and young scientists of life sciences made by neuroscientist dr. Urtė Neniškytė. She, alongside with chemist dr. Viktoras Butkus, attended the first event of The COINS 2019 – discussion “The journey of success”.

The conference, which started today, gathers scientists, companies and students to share their experience, create contacts and discuss the ongoing issues of the life science field. The COINS 2019 is being organised solely by students and the majority of the auditorium is also the youth. The aim of the discussion with Neniškytė and Butkus was to inspire the students to pursue their dreams and get some practical insight.

Study abroad, but choose carefully

Neniškytė, while doing her research, has spent a significant amount of time abroad and thus thinks of it as a big advantage. According to her, a person studying or doing research abroad, gains more experience, learns new methods and approaches towards science, as different countries use different methods. “The PhD work was my sixth project. That means that if I ever came to a problem, I would have time to think about a few more ways to solve it” – the scientist explained.

Moreover, the neuroscientist stresses the importance of connections. Going abroad is very useful in sharing experience and gathering contacts because afterwards, whenever you need technical expertise on your project, those people might help you.

However, Neniškytė strongly advises to evaluate every option critically. “If you see the advertisement of studies in Japan and get intrigued by it, think of what exactly you want to achieve and why you need to go to Japan for that” – she adds.

Apply your skills widely

Working both in a science and a business environment – for many years, he was the general director of biotechnology product development company “Fermentas” (today Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics), Butkus has now drastically changed his perspective. He has sponsored the construction of the MO Museum in Lithuania and has gathered the collection of Lithuanian modern art back from the late 50’s. The museum itself is very successfully attended – there have been over 150 000 people who visited it since its opening 4 months ago.

It might seem as a surprise, but Butkus said that both science and business skills help him with what he is doing today. Science gives you creative thinking – the things you are working on most of the times are not validated so you have to validate them on your own. Also, science always needs an order of events to make something fixed, so you have to be very organised and structured to make yourself reach the goal.

Do not expect an easy beginning

Not only doing her research solely, but also working with students, Neniškytė notices that sometimes students are very disappointed with the fact that their first or second attempts in the laboratory do not work out. “We have very talented students – they are high achievers, they are used to success. I always tell them not to worry – 95 percent of things won’t work in the laboratory, but that is expected. You have to get used to it” – the scientist calms the audience.

The conference will last for three days. Tomorrow, besides the following keynote speeches, a company fair and a panel discussion will take place. On Thursday, The COINS 2019 is expecting a visit from the Nobel prize laureate prof. John O’Keefe.