History of Horizons

December 4th, 2003. The seminar room in the Göttingen Center for Molecular Biosciences was bustling with activity. Organizers darted in and out of the room, making sure everything was in order and as it should be. Speakers attempted to look through their talking points, whilst entertaining the many curiosities of the next generation gathered around them. The graduate students themselves, whispered to each other and waited apprehensively, with thinly veiled excitement, for the program to begin. There were just under a hundred eager minds crowded into that one room. Students and researchers; all brought together by a shared passion: a passion for science. This was the inaugural Horizons in Molecular Biology Conference: An International PhD Student Symposium!


The conference has come a long way since then. Over the years, the number of participants grew steadily and increased in variety. Horizons now regularly attracts around three hundred participants from over thirty countries. The symposium has featured numerous renowned researchers, representing a wide range of fields in the life sciences. This exhaustive list also included several Nobel Laureates, namely: Professors Martin Chalfie, Sir John Walker, Ada Yonath, Thomas Südhof, Kurt Wüthrich, Carol Greider, Venki Ramakrishnan, Sir John Gurdon, and Tim Hunt.


Horizons has also evolved continuously as each new batch of student organizers brings a fresh perspective and new ideas, proving consistently that you can make a good thing better! In 2006, the organizers introduced a Poster Session accompanied by Student Talks. PhD students presented over a hundred posters and a select few were given the chance to present their work to an audience of peers and professors. Building on this, in 2007, Horizons launched its first Career Fair in conjunction with the conference. The fair offered budding scientists with an opportunity to connect with industry and network with life science professionals with a different backgrounds and perspectives. Representatives from over twenty companies were present at the inaugural Career Fair, conducting live interviews and CV checks. Today, the Career Fair has adopted a major role in the conference, offering workshops held by professionals, and interactive discussions with key figures in the modern life science industry. All catered to the needs of a young scientist.


At the heart of Horizons, is an idea: An International Scientific Conference from PhD students for PhD students. Organized by students from Göttingen’s International Max Plank Research School for Molecular Biology, Horizons in Molecular Biology provides an interactive experience in a relaxed environment. It aims to bridge the gap between young scientists and experienced researchers and bring together experts and novices from various fields of the life sciences to engage in a productive dialog and exchange information. Modern discovery is persistently progressing from exploring rainforests in faraway lands to observing the nature of life under a microscope. We are the modern explorers, and are committed to keep progressing forward, in the pursuit of science, towards the Horizon.


Dilantha Perera