Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday meetings, more than oversight.

The Monday Meeting(tm), or weekly meetings on another day, is one of the fundaments of labs and research groups everywhere. It can take on any number of guises. Here I will outline how we organize our Monday meetings now and how we arrived there.

When Our Enlightened Despot spent his first sabbatical in the US he came home with the idea of the Monday meeting.

It basically consisted of the Peons reporting what they did last week, and planned to do the coming week. People showed up when they had time and our Illustrious Clinicians never had that time. Mostly because 9.00am Monday morning is a busy time in the clinic. Every now and then someone was assigned to present some data. This was usually done in the form of graphs on paper, with the intro of: "In the 2004-03 project the expression of pro-col-n-pep was increased... as you see here." Obviously no one understood why this might be important or even interesting, but it was done anyway.

Three (or four) years ago the scientific presentations and discussions were moved to Fridays, and there was a series of very interesting Friday seminars. However, with two meetings per week, attendance was down and there were still no clinicians to be seen.

Two years ago we set a schedule with fifteen minute long scientific presentations every monday. These were supposed to be either brief reports of recent results, or a review presentation of a relevant area. In either case they should be properly prepared and formatted presentation, with proper introduction, hypothesis, methods and results. With this more strict setup we have managed to keep everyone in the loop, the lab rats can understand the archaic ways of epidemiological research and the clinicians get the background needed to understand the importance of the genetic expression of the Gene of the Day(tm).

Meeting at nine in the morning still did not work great for our clinicians, so last year we moved the meeting to Mondays at 14.00 (2.00pm). It is a fairly low intensity time for clinicians, but it does destroy the afternoons lab work for those so inclined. We have a short progress report where everyone says what they are working with, and we have one fifteen minute scientific presentation every Monday.

We have managed to keep attendance high and are well on the way to creating a common knowledge base in the whole group, so that the discussion can focus more on the science than on the peculiarities of the different fields.

How do you do it at your lab?

Does it work well or...?



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