PhD Symposium 2022 – Critical Thinking in (Neuro)Science

The Bernstein PhD Symposium is an opportunity for junior researchers to meet their peers, share their experiences and make new connections. We strive for an inclusive and informal environment that fosters discussions and allows for an open exchange of ideas. It is organized entirely by PhD students.

This year, the keynote lectures will be about “Critical Thinking in (Neuro)Science”, a crucial skill for conducting rigorous science, although often neglected in academic training. We hope that the lectures will raise awareness about the importance of critical thinking, and empower you to develop critical thinking skills, thus contributing to doing better science.


Looking for more interaction? Then also join the Social Event on Tuesday, Sept 13! More information will follow.


Friday, Sep 16, afternoon
Saturday, Sep 17 forenoon


Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN) Berlin,
Philippstr. 13 House 4,
10115 Berlin


Ritu Roy Chowdhury | Werner Reichardt Center for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN), Tübingen, Germany
Irina Pochinok | Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg, Germany
Yue Kris Wu| Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt a.M., Germany
Roxana Zeraati | Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany


The PhD Symposium consists of two keynote lectures followed by a panel discussion, as well as several unconference sessions. During the unconference sessions, you will have the opportunity to discuss with other students in small groups, in an informal setting. The discussion topics are proposed and voted on by yourselves on-site. We hope that via these relaxed discussions, you will make new friends, exchange ideas, and share experiences.

Please note: You need to book this event during your registration for the Bernstein Conference. Participation fee is 25€. Go to registration.


Friday, Sept 16


Meet & Greet


Collection of topics for unconference sessions


Keynote lecture 1: Boris BarbourEcole Normale Supérieure and The PubPeer Foundation, France
Post-publication peer review and the PubPeer website


30 min break


Unconference Session I
Participant-driven discussions, workshops and projects in smaller groups


Real or Fake? A science show for critical thinking.
With music by Nate Bernardini.

We present exciting topics from neuroscience trying either to enlighten or trick our audience. Then you decide whether it was a bizarre-sounding but true story or a cheeky and good-sounding but false report.

Followed by a Barbeque.


Saturday, Sept 17


Coffee start


Keynote lecture 2: Luiza Bengtsson | Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany
Informed decision-making: a case for Open Science and critical thinking skills


Panel discussion


30 min break


Unconference Session II


Wrap-Up and farewell


Optional: Lunch and Berlin outing

Confirmed speakers

Dr. Boris BarbourEcole Normale Supérieure and The PubPeer Foundation, France

In addition to his research in neuroscience, Dr. Barbour contributes ​​significantly to promoting the PubPeer initiative, a platform for post-publication peer review aiming to accelerate the exchange of ideas and scientific progress (click here for more information).

Dr. Luiza Bengtsson | Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany

Dr. Bengtsson is a biochemist turned science communicator. She is actively engaged in promoting science popularization. At the same time, she also leads a non-profit organization BesserWissen e.V. that is dedicated to developing and spreading tools for critical thinking.