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Students’ Annual Retreat 2017


8-9 June 2017

Lang EN Workshop language is English
Responsable de l'activité

Alexandre Reymond


Lucia de Andres, PhD student, UniFr
Pauline Fritsch, PhD student, UniFr


Dr. Adria LeBoeuf, Dr. Frédéric Schütz, Dr. Laura Symul


Poster to download

Overview Do you always doubt about which statistical tests to use? Worst, do you use the same tests that have been used in your lab for years but no one is really sure why? Have you tried contacting a mathematician but... you just don't understand each other? And, what about graphs? Do you know which one to use to represent your data? Is it challenging for you to choose colours to make your complex figure attractive? Finally, do you feel that people fall asleep during your talks? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then this retreat is for you!
The annual StarOmics retreat aims to group all students from the doctoral program as well as with external experts in a pleasant environment. The focus of this year's retreat is statistics
and science communication. We are happy to announce three amazing scientists and science communicators to bring light on those questions! Social activities will help students to get to know each other and we will offer you the opportunity to apply your new communication skills by giving a short presentation about your PhD project in the 3minutes thesis format. Content How to lie with statistics? Our first speaker, Dr. Frédéric Schütz will introduce us to the world of statistics for biologists with interactive and practical discussions. Statistics is a fundamental tool for doing good science, and all biologists have to use it at some point. However, many (most?) of them are uncomfortable with this discipline -- didn't someone say once that "numbers can be made to say anything"? The goal of this workshop is to demystify statistics, in particular by discussing typical mistakes made by researchers. We will do this without going into any technical details (so you don't have to worry if you are afraid of mathematics!), but insisting instead on the concepts, with a large emphasis on how numbers and charts can lie... and how to avoid doing this in your own work. We will see how to select a statistical test and how to communicate results by choosing the appropriate type of graph. To further encourage students to always take the time to understand how to analyze their data, we will also discuss how to collaborate with a mathematician.
A picture is worth a thousand words... if well designed. Scientists nowadays produce more visuals than ever in the form of plots, diagrams, and illustrations for publications, posters, talks, grants, and reviews. However, some researchers feel lost when it comes to communicating their work visually. To help students with graphs and figure making
, Dr. Laura Symul will provide participants with basic principles and tools that will enable them to create better visuals. In particular, we will cover the basics of graphic design and visualisation for efficient communication of scientific concepts so that participants feel more at ease when it comes to turning complex concepts into simple figures.
Finally, Dr. Adria LeBoeuf
will train us to become a great speaker. We will use interactive storytelling and presentation techniques to help each participant to communicate his or her research in a compelling and engaging manner. After an introduction mixing storytelling and research, we will work to define the hook, the arc, and the take-home message of each participant's research story, as well as practicing presentation skills (voice, body, stage presence). Three-minute talks are an excellent exercise in distilling one's work down to its essence and learning how to be a good presenter. Additionally, they also allow researchers to inject joy, comedy, and artistry into the explanation of their work, making the presentation experience much more fun! The work done in this workshop can be re-used in many other contexts.
We also have the chance to have as a special guest Désirée König the winner of the international MT180s 2016 competition
! ( Learning outcomes - Get more confident in statistical analysis of your data - How to select the appropriate statistical test and graph for your experiments - Graphic and figure design of scientific concepts - Structuring presentations and pitches - Oral presentation skills Speakers Dr. Frédéric Schütz was originally trained as a mathematician and biostatistician, and currently works as a senior statistician at both the University of Lausanne and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, where he provides consulting and training in statistics for the life science community. In parallel, he has worked as a science journalist and a science communicator, and he particularly enjoys building bridges between disciplines.
Dr. Laura Symul
( received her education in engineering before getting her PhD in computational biology at EPFL. Besides her scientific background she kept drawing and started to combine her graphical and scientific skills by designing review figures for scientific journals such as Cellular Microbiology or EMBO Press and doing scientific illustrations for professors or for exhibitions. Her current mandate focuses on the facilitation of science stories through talks and exhibitions at the World Economic Forum.
Dr. Adria LeBoeuf
: multi-disciplinary scientist, coach, and a specialist in creating new stories about scientific research. Adria is the founder and director of The Catalyst (, a cross-disciplinary group of scientists working to improve communication skills and to create new science-driven media (most recently, Adria has been involved in TEDxLausanne, as a curator and speaker coach from 2012-2016. In this capacity, she has coached many speakers including professors and business leaders from IMD, UNIL, UniNe, HEC, and the Weizmann Institute, one of whom went on to speak at TEDGlobal. Adria has given talks, workshops, and courses in combining science and storytelling within Switzerland at HEC Lausanne, CUSO, UNIL, EPFL, LS2, ScienceComm, Lift and CERN, and internationally in the US, UK, Portugal, Estonia and France.


Schloss Münchenwiler, Villars-les-Moines




Location: In the beautiful castle of the Schlöss Münchenwiler close to Murten, canton of Fribourg,
General information:
The whole retreat will be interactive: be ready to move around.
Participants should be comfortable and able to express themselves in English (level B2/C1).


Given the reduced number of places available and to avoid any last minute cancellation, we are asking you to make a 50CHF deposit upon registration that will be fully reimbursed after the retreat. Accommodation charges and travel expenses are fully covered by the CUSO. If you cancel your registration after May 12, you will not be reimbursed from the registration fee.
PhD students of StarOmics are eligible for reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train
(half-fare card, and 2nd class). Please send the original tickets (no copies, except for the general abonnement) with the reimbursement form to Corinne Dentan (see:



Deadline for registration 12.05.2017
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