Following a successful first general assembly last year, the second general assembly of the SPP2100 programme was planned this year in the beautiful city of Leipzig from 5th to 8th July. With the current restrictions in mind, it was planned as a hybrid event that allowed more than 50 researchers from 13 universities from all over Germany to join virtually or in person. Throughout the four days, the researchers had the chance to engage in valuable information exchanges and break free from their labs and enjoy the beautiful weather in Leipzig.
The SPP 2100 programme is a collaboration between thirteen university groups within Germany, each group hosting at least two or more PhD students. Once a year, a meeting is organized to exchange ideas and updates among different groups, usually followed by a few soft skills workshops. While this meeting is usually held in person and allows the PhD students to take a break from the labs and meet their colleagues from all over the country, this year the process was different, owing to the ongoing restrictions.
In the modern world, gender inequality and diversity are topics often met with resistance to some degree. Statistics show an upward trend in the number of female PhD holders, and their representation in academia, specially in STEM, is on a path of progress, even if a little slow.
As soft robotics is becoming one of the most important and interesting fields of science, it is crucial now more than ever to introduce this field to the young scientists and researchers and to encourage them to pursue the field, in order to bring it to the heights it is more than capable of rising to. The soft robotics team at match had this ultimate objective in mind as they conducted the first workshop on Soft Robotics for the students of Leibniz University on 3rd December 2020.