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1st Swarm-Organ Periodic Meeting

22 Apr 2014

The 1st Swarm-Organ Periodic Meeting was much more than just a consortium meeting aiming to assess the progress of the project during the first 12 months of work. It was held in Barcelona on the 24th and 25th of March, 2014, and hosted by James Sharpe at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG). All Swarm-Organ researchers plus a number of guests, each of them providing important insights into different aspects of the project, participated to this event.

The first working session (Monday 24th morning) was indeed dedicated to review project progress, to complete report and deliverables, and to assess the achievement of the first project’s milestone: the final agreement on a standard 2D model to be used through the project.  Pablo Cironi, Chair of the Innovation Board, joined this session with the intention of strengthening the communication between the research team and the tech-transfer experts.

A quick finger-lunch at the always spectacular terrace of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) was followed by the Workshop “Building Organs” that fetched old concepts and new ideas on developmental biology and on reverse engineering to the Swarm-Organ team. Four experts (Prof Cristina Pujades and Prof Fernando Giráldez from the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), and Dr Manu Uzkudun and Dr Anton Crombach from the CRG) lectured and drove the discussion in this mini-workshop, which was very useful to set a common basis for all Swarm-Organ researchers regardless of their background. Right after this training activity a long and relaxing walk by the Roman town of Barcelona led the swarm to a Mediterranean-food restaurant to close the working day down with a socializing dinner.

Tuesday 25th working session moved the focus from past activities to present and future ones. It involved a strategic discussion and the settlement of a detailed plan for the next steps. It was in this context where the Swarm-Organ Scientific Advisor Stéphane Doncieux presented his work on evolutionary robotics and provided important feedback to help covering the “reality gap” that he may have observed during the 2-day meeting. With this expert input, and with a light lunch next to the beach, the 1st Swarm-Organ Periodic Meeting came to an end, leaving behind the certainty that the team follows a good track to reach its goals.