A positive work environment and a positive work culture are essential for a strong commitment and engagement. Corona restrictions such as home-office and lockdowns posed a challenge for further development of the FEZ research group. It was a particularly challenging period for the new group members that recently joined the group. The FEZ group did certainly very well, but we were, nevertheless, very happy to gather for a group retreat 2.-4. November at Klækken Hotel (http://www.klaekken.no) close to Hønefoss, roughly a one hours drive outside Oslo. Seven group members participated in the retreat and one was ‘integrated’ remotely from the UK during several discussion sessions.
The focus of the days was to further improve the positive group culture. Accordingly, an extended walk to the close by forests as well as visits to the Hadeland Glassverk (https://www.hadeland.com) and the Kistefos Sculpture Park (https://www.kistefosmuseum.no) were key elements of the program. But there were also several discussions for planning upcoming group activities. Among other topics we discussed the future high throughput sequencing options and needs. Particular emphasis was on developing plans for popular science and public outreach tasks; this will include a new edition of an advent calendar later this year and presentations of interesting animal taxa starting next year.
The Klækken Hotel offered an excellent environment for the retreat, and we all enjoyed great food and the hotel facilities. Time was flying and after two exciting days the group headed back to Oslo.