Fourth FICEBO workshop and retreat

A hallmark of FICEBO activities has been our annual summer workshop, which provides a welcome chance for the whole group to meet, brainstorm, and relax. However, this year, logistical challenges pushed our get-together into the autumn. Finally, on October 28–29, 2022, more than a dozen FICEBO members gathered at Villa Majvik, a scenic conference center on a beautiful bay just 20 kilometers from downtown Helsinki.

Congress Hotel Majvik, located at the border of Espoo and Kirkkonummi, 20 km West from the center of Helsinki. More info:

Majvik was originally a summer home for the University of Helsinki’s first otorhinolaryngology professor, Arthur Edvard af Forselles (1864-1953) and his family. Today Majvik is a tasteful modern conference hotel that can accommodate events for up to 200 guests.

A voyage begins

As we prepare to launch our long-awaited FIMAGE study out onto the high seas of real-world clinical trials, Friday’s meeting time was dedicated to ensuring smooth sailing for the FIMAGE voyage. However, having not gathered (face-to-face) as a group in over a year, we also reserved a little time for social team-building: getting to know each other a bit better, particularly as there are a few new faces in the crowd. Listening to everyone’s summaries of their past year and important events in their lives (including quite a few updates, it turned out, on various family dogs), provided a nice, informal kick-off to the retreat.

Olli Rytsölä and Jarkko Jokihaara, both intrepid sailors, shared tales of boating manoeuvres in the rough waters of Lake Näsijärvi (Jarkko) and the Baltic Sea (Olli).
Trevor Corson (sitting, right) and Sami Saku (sitting, left) engaged in a lively discussion of work-in-progress by Thomas Ibounig (standing, behind Trevor), while Teppo Järvinen and Simo Taimela discussed recent developments in clinical research.
“That’s a very good question – does anyone have at least a somewhat OK answer?” Part of the joy of bringing the entire team together is getting to exchange ideas on a very wide range of topics.

Finnish hospitality

The activities at our FICEBO gatherings vary, but since we are based in Finland, typically there is one activity that can be counted on: when it’s time to wind down many in our group head for the sauna. Although Finns are supposed to be the big sauna goers, this year the fiercest sauna advocates in attendance turned out to be the non-Finns: Thomas, who is Austrian, and Trevor, who hails from the U.S. Both spent more time in the sauna than the Finns, and Thomas even jumped into the cold sea for a swim.

During our previous retreats in the summers, we’ve been lucky to enjoy gorgeous weather; however, this time Finland gave us the typical autumn gloom Finns know so well: the temperature barely nudged above 8 Celsius, while drizzle and fog hung over the bay. Still, the final colors of fall looked even prettier in the wet weather and for us, getting to enjoy the assembled good company more than compensated for the murky skies.

Behind the scenes of academic publishing

On Saturday, we kicked off the workshopping with Clare Ardern providing lectures on publishing and peer-review. In her capacity as the Editor-in-chief of a major musculoskeletal rehabilitation journal (JOSPT), she gave us useful insider tips on how to choose the right journal, how to handle editors and reviewers, and what else to think about when submitting a paper. Clare’s presentations sparked interest among us in serving as peer reviewers. A workshop on peer review for FICEBO members is on the calendar before the end of 2022.

Clare on fire: Debunking myths about preparing papers for publication, and illuminating what happens inside the “black-box” of the publication process after a paper is submitted to a journal.

To wrap up the two-day session, we assembled on the Majvik pier under the grey autumn clouds for the traditional group photo:

Team FICEBO in attendance at Majvik by the Baltic Sea bay. Fortunately no one was foolish enough to follow the photographer’s teasing encouragement to “please everyone just take a few more steps backwards”…