Rikke Hjortebjerg | Danish Diabetes and Endocrine Academy
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Rikke Hjortebjerg

"In my opinion, the most import achievement of DDA has been the establishment of a great research network, as well as catalyzing collaborations within diabetology.

DDA has generated a networking platform, which includes both young students and acclaimed senior researchers within the field of diabetes. I have participated in several courses, workshops, seminars and symposia offered by DDA, all of which has been exceptionally well planned and structured and at high international level. These activities have allowed me to learn from some of the best national and international researchers. Typically, when you participate in conferences, you hear the talks of leading scientists. On the Academy meetings, you get to discuss your research with them in casual surroundings, join them for a cup of coffee or sit next to them during dinner – without feeling like an inexperienced novice.

I most definitely believe that participating in these activities and the feeling of belonging to the community has fueled a ‘team spirit’ among upcoming diabetes researchers. Furthermore, I have been able to keep track of my fellow students through the news communicated by the DDA webpage and social media.

Besides creating a great research network, I believe DDA has managed to bridge the gap between the universities, the hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry and hereby inspire to common projects. Although we all aim to increase the understanding of the etiology, pathogenesis and treatment of diabetes, students often tend to focus on their own little project and not recognize the value of knowledge sharing and connecting across disciplines and borders. With financial support from DDA, part of my research was carried out abroad and the stay provided experiences valuable to both my project and my career. Most importantly, all my collaborators have strengthened my ability to ‘look beyond’ my own research area, and my thinking has been constructively challenged by (great) minds that think alike and, sometimes, not alike at all."

PhD fellow Rikke Hjortebjerg, Aarhus University