In the run-up to the National Symposium on Zoonoses Research 2011, the National Research Platform for Zoonoses organized a PhD Workshop/Summer School in Berlin from October 3 - 5, 2011 for all PhD students researching in the field of zoonoses. This year, the workshop consisted of two parallel topics: "Presenting Science" and "Scientific Writing". In total, more than 40 young scientists applied to participate in the workshop and although the number of participants almost doubled compared to the previous year due to an additional workshop topic, unfortunately not all of them were able to attend the workshop. In the end, the decision had to be drawn by lot. The 28 participants came from all over Germany from different universities, university hospitals, federal research institutions and the German Federal Armed Forces.
The topic "Presenting Science" dealt with the factors that influence the success of a scientific presentation. These include sensible preparation and planning, the use of different methods and media, dealing with nervousness and complications, and verbal and non-verbal communication aspects. The theoretical knowledge conveyed was applied in numerous practical exercises. In addition, on the last day each participant gave a scientific presentation prepared by him/her, which was then recorded on video and subsequently analysed together with the trainers and the other participants. This consolidated the acquired knowledge and additionally trained to give and accept constructive feedback.
The second workshop topic "Scientific Writing" was offered for the first time this year. The focus was on how to efficiently prepare and structure scientific publications. The participants learned strategies for searching for literature, designing figures and tables, overcoming writer's block and the complete path from draft to finished publication. The final part of the course was the question of how to successfully publish in the right medium.
Also this year there was a supporting programme, which should give the opportunity to get to know each other better and to exchange information. The first day of the workshop ended with Italian food in the restaurant "Mediterraneo". After the second day of the workshop we went to the "Aufsturz", where everybody enjoyed the food and the one or other exotic beer in a comfortable atmosphere. Smoked beer or DjuDju Mango is a matter of taste, though. The third and last day of the workshop ended with a tour of the Spreer river past some of the capital's sights. Not only the participants who came from outside Berlin enjoyed this very much. Also the weather was still playing along halfway, so that the rain only started when everybody was already sitting in the Tajik tearoom during the tea ceremony. For warming up the steaming samovars, different kinds of sugar, marmalade, rum raisins, cookies and vodka were already there. This was also the end of the workshop, where all participants could review the last three days and look forward to the next two days at the National Symposium on Zoonoses Research 2011.