September 20, 2022

Preconference Workshop Flux Congress 2022

The SYNC lab and Leiden-CID had the honor to be part of the Flux Congress 2022 in Paris, by organizing a preconference workshop about the developmental neuroscience cycle. In this blog, we give you a small impression of the amazing day!

The Developmental Neuroscience Cycle: from Research Design to Societal Impact

When conducting developmental neuroscience research, we all face similar challenges, but these difficulties are rarely reflected in our scientific papers. Questions such as, how to balance between the perfect research design and feasibility? How to manage the data in such a way that it is open and safe? How to translate science to a broader public without being too unnuanced? Pre-pandemically, these kinds of experiences were sometimes shared at the coffee machine or during lunch, but in current times we often have to solve these challenges in solitude.

During this one-day preconference workshop, we wanted to reflect upon several challenges (and opportunities!) that we have experienced in running longitudinal studies. Together with the Flux community, we had interactive discussions on what practical, logistical, and creative solutions we as developmental neuroscientists have for the challenges we concur in our research field.

Optimal Research Design

In the morning session we started the day by discussing optimal research designs, where we shared our experiences with the unique L-CID design, (a longitudinal, neuroimaging, randomized controlled intervention, developmental twin study) and included methodological considerations surrounding the impact that specific choices in the research design have for future statistical analyses.

Next, we discuss lessons learned on running a longitudinal study with annual visits and share and collect tips and tricks to reduce dropout.

Watch the video on the aim, study design and outcomes of the L-CID study:

In small groups of six participants, we discussed challenges and solutions in optimal research design. We also collected tips and tricks for running developmental longitudinal studies. Some of the examples of the posters:

Road to Open Science

During the second part of the preconference workshop, we discussed LCID’s open science vision and challenges we have faced on the road to open science. Simone Mulder talked all about how to organize a multimodal longitudinal dataset. We proposed a data structure template, while explaining how we got there and what decisions were made along the way (for more information, check out this blog).

Simone Mulder presenting Leiden-CID's data structure

Up next, Mark Mulder gave a detailed description about roadblocks and things to think about during the process of converting raw data to processed data. Lastly, Lara Wierenga talked about finding a balance between being open and protective, and how to be findable and accessible yet protective. In addition, she introduced some of our open science plans, including the development of a data sharing platform add-on that will facilitate data sharing.

You can find the slides of the Open Science presentation here.

Societal Impact

The afternoon session of the pre-conference program was focused on societal impact: the goal was to both get inspired and to think of concrete ideas for societal impact in everyone’s one projects. First, several examples of how the SYNC lab creates societal impact were discussed, divided into societal outreach (bringing your science to society), co-creation (involving society in science) and citizen science (doing science together with society).

Lina presented on Expedition Next, a science festival for children in the Netherlands that aims to get children excited for science and spark their curiosity. Lysanne talked about Young Xperts, a platform for involving youth in science. This can be done for example by organizing brainstorm sessions, and by sharing scientific knowledge and asking youth to think along about solutions (facts & take action). Finally, Yara explained a citizen science project ‘All schools (collect) together’ where children of primary schools collect and analyze data on whether the voices of children are being heard when it comes to what they find important in their social environment.

Next, in small groups we discussed ideas for making societal impact with our own research. We thought of ideas individually and subsequently divided them into the categories ‘meh’ (ordinary & unfeasible), ‘now’ (ordinary but feasible), ‘how’ (original but unfeasible) and ‘wow’ (original and feasible). We concluded that small steps or ideas could already help making societal impact. Or, as Michelle quoted Sydney Smith: “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.” And indeed, at the end of the session everyone was convinced that they could make societal impact with their science!

You can find the slides of Social Impact session here.

Written by:

Michelle Achterberg, PhD

Assistant Professor

Simone Mulder, MSc

Research Data Specialist

Development matters | Leiden-CID study

This study was developed as one of four work packages of the overarching Consortium on Individual Development (CID).

CID is a large multidisciplinary collaboration that unites the best researchers on youth and development in the Netherlands.
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