Posts Tagged ‘conference’

Attending a conference without attending

I have been receiving the newsletter of the American Chemical Society ever since I moved to Ireland to start my PhD. I generally just read through it when I receive it in my inbox and archive it. However this week a notice grabbed my attention. An ACS national meeting has just been held, and all presentations were uploaded online, together with synched audio. More than 500 presentations are available for free, making it possible to feel like I attended the meeting without actually attending.

I had never even thought that such things are done, and was pleasantly surprised at the different topics covered during the meeting. I have now gone through the list of presentations and noted the presentations which are of interest to me. Hopefully I will manage to go through those that caught my attention (around 11 in all). Most are linked to the area I am currently researching, but some are in the wider area of science.

Today I decided to follow an easygoing presentation to start with:

Challenges and joys of an industrial career when “far, far away” becomes “just around the corner

Carolyn Ribes (DOW)

The presentation spoke about the challenges and strengths of women who take on international assignments within their company. Although I have not actually taken such an assignment, most of the things discussed within the presentation are highly relevant to my situation. I found it interesting to learn more about the topic and also to look at how other people prepare presentations and present their work. The presentation (you just have the powerpoint slide on view) and the audio are excellently linked. Overall I really enjoyed listening to it and I look forward to going through the remaining presentations on my list. However at 20-30minutes per presentation it might take some time.

I think such efforts are an excellent way to disseminate details from such a meeting or conference and should be a minefield to any PhD student for whom attendance to conferences is not always possible due to financial or time restraints. It is great that the content is made freely available, and I hope that more conferences go down this route. This is the first time I hear about this, but I will definitely keep my eyes open for similar initiatives.


April 10, 2011 1 comment

From the 6th – 8th April, the 21st Irish Environmental Researchers’ Colloquium, ENVIRON 2011, was being held at University College Cork. This is organised by ESAI (Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland) and is a conference which our whole lab attends each year. During the first day of the conference, a number of relevant workshops were held, and since two of my lab mates and myself were interested in that on Geospatial Technologies, we made our way down to Cork a bit earlier. I had used GIS during my fourth year project, however I only had a basic understanding of this tool. However I hope to be able to make use of GIS further during my PhD, as I believe it will significantly help my research. The workshop consisted of 1.5hours on GIS and 1.5hours on remote sensing, and therefore we did not really get an in-depth knowledge of the software. However, it was a good refresher course to remember what I had done before. I really liked that the workshop was mainly practical based, in that during each session, we had a short introduction, followed by hands-on experience of carrying out a tutorial.

That evening, a wine reception followed by the opening speeches were held. I was particularly interested in the keynote speech by Professor Michael Depledge. He touched upon a million and one things during his presentation, but he managed to make it accessible to all, yes still scientific enough. The next morning, the ‘conference proper’ was to start. After an initial plenary session, the various sessions of presentations were held. 4 different sessions were held at the same time, and one chooses which session he attends. Such sessions were to be held over the last 1.5 days, since the conference ended at lunch on Friday.

During the first session of ‘Water Quality’ I was to present a 1 minute oral presentation on my poster. I am glad I got to present my work and my slot was at the start, since a number of people came up to talk to me after that. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of students coming up to me to ask about my research and that they would be interested in my findings, since it could add something to what they are already doing. Therefore it is encouraging to see that IF my method works, it will find some use. Alas, it is an IF. It was also slightly unsettling, that some people are doing quite similar work to what I am doing. But that is research, and hopefully the work they will be doing will not be too similar.

I was particularly excited when my supervisor told me that a person from the EPA was interested in my work. I had been trying to contact people at the EPA, but it seems as if my messages were not going through. However I now have his contact details, and I will get back to him next week. If I can get the support of the EPA, it will certainly add some essential backing in relation to the relevance of my research.

As with the other conferences/meetings I have been at, I have found that it is not the actual presentations which are most useful, but rather the discussions held during the other activities, such as poster sessions, lunch or dinner. ENVIRON 2011 is over, and I look forward to ENVIRON 2012.

CASi 2011: My First Conference

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

During the past two days, I have been attending my first actual conference: CASi 2011 (Conference on Analytical Sciences: Ireland). It was being held at DCU, and so it did not involve much travel or other expenses, making it ideal for my first conference attendance. I had heard about it a couple of months ago, and had asked to send in an abstract for a poster presentation. My supervisors agreed, and after some months I heard that I got accepted. Therefore the past two days have been filled with conference related activities.

Overall I can say that this conference has been really useful to me, even though just one oral presentation was directly related to what I am doing. However the opportunity to talk to other people was the most beneficial aspect. In particular I got talking to three individuals, who have given me some good insights into my project, and I look forward to perhaps collaborating with them, and have some friendly discussions.

I am also glad I made it to the conference dinner yesterday, since I got to meet other scientists in Ireland, who are mainly in the same boat as myself, in that most are PhD students or post-docs. By having attended a DCU organised conference, it was also good to meet other people working in the University, particularly students from the School of Chemistry. This is because my research is largely chemistry based. However, I am situated in another school which makes interaction somewhat problematic.

Furthermore, since the conference was sponsored by the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) publishing division (amongst others), we got access to a couple of hard copy journals relevant to analytical science. I generally just access journals online, and have only looked at really old journals which would be unavailable online, in print. Therefore it was something of a novelty to get to see and flip through actual journals, and see how they are presented, rather than looking at a pdf.

It was also interesting to see all the different approaches to presentations (oral and poster) other people take, and I hope that I have taken something of that with me. I look forward to my next conference (hopefully in April), which should be more directly related to my area of research. However, this was a great start.

Research Days, Conference etc.

January 27, 2011 2 comments

Tomorrow start my first ‘public appearance’ of me and my PhD. The School of Biotechnology at DCU is having its annual research day. I had been accepted to present a poster, which has now been prepared (thank you Bernard 🙂 ) and printed, and I am excited to be able to present it tomorrow.

My Poster: School of Biotechnology Research Day

After that, I have just heard at the end of last week that I have been accepted to give a poster presentation at the Conference of Analytical Science in Ireland which will be held at DCU at the end of February. So after I see how things go with the poster  tomorrow, I will amend and make the necessary changes for the CASi conference.

Today I also heard that I should try and participate in another conference to be held in Cork in Ireland concerning the Irish Environment in April. I still need to prepare an abstract and see whether I will be accepted. I hope I will, as I will get to go to Cork.

Hope all goes well tomorrow. Wish me luck!


November 30, 2010 5 comments

My PhD project is part of a QUESTOR coordinated Marie Curie Initial Training Network programme funded by the EC FP7 project People: ATWARM. As part of the ATWARM network, we have Bi-annual network meetings, where all the research fellows and their supervisors meet. The first network meeting for the ATWARM fellows was held in Belfast, on the 18th November. This was preceded by the QUESTOR meeting on the 17th, which is also held bi-annually. I was not planning on going, but on the previous Monday, my supervisor received a request for us to go, and since some of the people from my lab were going up on the 16th for the meeting on the 17th, I decided to make the trip with them.

I was excited to attend both meetings. In the QUESTOR meeting I was mainly interested in a presentation given by one of the QUESTOR funded students, who is also using stable isotopes in his research. It was also interesting to learn more about how QUESTOR functions. Basically it is composed of an Industrial and Academic board. The industrial board is made up of various companies who are interested in the research carried out in QUESTOR.:

“Providing application focussed environmental research to generate knowledge and technologies for the future needs of industry.”

The attend the bi-annual meetings and they determine which projects QUESTOR will fund, depending on their company’s requirements and whether they see an industrial scope to the project. In fact each funded project has an industrial partner in it. The academic board is made up of researchers from various Universities and institutes in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Canada, US and elsewhere.

The next day was the ATWARM meeting. I was really looking forward to this. I got to meet the other ATWARM students who are carrying out research at the other Universities, and understand better what they will be researching. This is because we all got to give a 10 minute presentation about ourselves and our project. I was one of the last people to present so my nerves kept building and building. I was particularly worried that I simplified everything a bit too much. However I think that overall I did well. I also got a couple of people congratulating me, so I was a happy girl.

The ATWARM fellows

The ATWARM fellows

Since my supervisor from DCU and I were up in Belfast, we also scheduled a meeting with my supervisor at QUB, who was also attending the meeting. We had scheduled to have it after the ATWARM meeting, but since we had a long coffee break (we were running ahead of schedule) we held it then. This turned out to be a good thing, since we realized we could talk to people from the Industrial board who were also present, and whose help we might need there and then. The two companies we talked to were really interested in my project (one came up to me himself) and I look forward to working with them in aspects of my research. I also got to discuss my project with both supervisors at the same time, which was really helpful. We talked about my progress to date and how I will be proceeding from now on.

Overall I guess this meeting was a success personally. This was not only in relation to meeting the other ATWARM students, who are really nice and I look forward to meeting again and again, but also in relation to understanding better the way QUESTOR works, and how I can best benefit from its industrial relations. The meeting between both supervisors and myself was also really helpful, so I have nothing to complain about. I also got to hang out in an informal manner with the other students at DCU, my main supervisor at DCU and other individuals involved in ATWARM during dinner the night before, and a very insightful train ride back to Dublin with the ATWARM principal scientist.

Next ATWARM meeting…Germany in May.