History of BSS

“GW-ers doen het Wetenschappelijk”

Thirty-two years ago, back in 1988, the first iteration of the Biomedical Science Symposium took place. Back then, the study wasn’t even called Biomedical Science yet – it was known as “Gezondheidswetenschappen”. Over the years, the name changed, the students changed, the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs grew to the size they are today, yet the motto stayed the same: A day organized by and for students.
And that is what it is: a day organized by a dedicated and enthusiastic group of Master’s students there to show just what our Master’s students are capable of. Every year, teachers, departmental heads and program directors are astounded by the level of our students and as such the symposium serves as an impressive calling card of our respective bachelor and master programs. As Communication in Science teachers, we support our students with the organization of this day.

The founder of CIS, Diek van Bijsterveld, came up with the idea of organizing this symposium and helped the students by herself back in the day. Since then, a team of CIS teachers has been there (in various combinations) in the background; most recently John O’Sullivan, Anne van Leeuwen-Nipshagen, Eleanor Paynter, Patrick Kiely and myself. Fun fact: Prof. Dr. E.L. Noach, now known for the Noach prize awarded just before the forum discussion, was the forum moderator for the very first symposium in ‘88!

Together with the students, we’ve weathered many storms: incorrectly printed abstracts books; forum panel members that called in sick on the day itself; economic downfalls which meant hardly any sponsors; a 25th year anniversary cake for 200 people almost toppling over and my most recent heart attack – the baker that forgot to make 150 baguettes for lunch (and as everybody who’s ever been to a symposium knows, lunch is the most important part of the day!).
Still, every single year seems to be the most fun one yet.

Nikki Kromkamp
Lecturer Communication in Science