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MicroMaps 2020 edition: 8th June – 14th August 2020

1 program

2 task forces

3 Irish universities

10 weeks

30 STEM undergraduates

MicroMaps is the VMH flagship undergraduate research experience with the mission to craft a valuable learning experience for each other. In a digital-first approach, programme participants are immersed in a systematic team environment to tackle current challenges in digital health, foster a diverse social network, and develop new skills for their future careers.

We welcomed a diverse group of 30 undergraduate STEM researchers from across Ireland, including from the National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork, and University College Dublin. In a 100% online environment, participants collaborated on interdisciplinary research projects in systems biomedicine focusing on microbiome metabolic modelling and network visualisation using state-of-the-art resources, complemented by developing their capabilities in science communication, project management, and team leadership. Weekly guest lectures from pioneers in their fields, including from academia and industry, in addition to support from the NUI Galway Career Development Centre and individual dialogues, aimed to support the students in their career and personal development. Further, participants built a portfolio of tangible outcomes, including scientific presentations, videos, and press releases to highlight in future endeavours including, e.g., graduate admissions and job applications.

MicroMaps shall continue to catalyse VMH engagement by building a sustainable community of future leaders in digital health, lasting beyond the programme as such. “Although the programme ends, the community persists” was the closing message of the 2020 edition.


“Thank you for allowing me to take part in this project, I have learned many skills and made many friends along the way. It was something I could look forward to during these strange times when seemingly everything else was cancelled. Definitely a worthwhile 10 weeks!” “Thanks so much for being able to put this experience together, It was fascinating to learn about your work, and I definitely want to gain more experience in systems biology. I hope the work we did is beneficial to you.” “Overall I feel MicroMaps was a fantastic opportunity to gain experience in research. It gave me some really useful insights into different subject areas and how broad the world of biology is. I feel very lucky to have been involved.” “Thank you for providing us with an invaluable research experience. Overall it was very well organised with a lot of thought and care put into it. I have learnt so much even just about teamwork (I think the teams were matched really well). Also it's lovely how ye offered to be there for us in the future as well - very thoughtful!” “Thank you so much for the opportunity to work on a research project. It's clear a lot of work went into structuring the project. It's given me a great insight into the world of research and all things microbiome!” “Just want to give a massive thank you to all the organisers who made this possible. It was amazing to get this kind of opportunity and support as an undergraduate. The best way to learn is by doing, and the more opportunities for young scientists to get real research experience, the better.” “The programme was an absolute lifeline for me this summer, I might have gone insane without something engaging to do. Thank you for having me, and may your future careers be filled with eureka moments.”

The MicroMaps - VMH organisation team:

Dr Cyrille Thinnes, Dr Almut Heinken, Prof. Ines Thiele

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