Optimizing Your Scientific Conference Experience

When I was in graduate school (a really long time ago), I remember going to my first big conference—American Society for Cell Biology—and being completely overwhelmed. I walked in with my Annual Conference Proceedings (back then it was all paper—no apps—and those books were thick, heavy and took up a ridiculous amount of space in your luggage). I had highlighted at least 100 posters that I was going to visit, along with one talk at every session that remotely applied to my work. And of course, I was not going to miss a single platform presentation. I was grimly determined to learn everything.

After a day-and-a-half, I was too tired to even troll the exhibition floor for freebies.

In my current job, I spend time monitoring hashtags for scientific conferences, and I occasionally notice a plaintive tweet from a conference attendee awash in a sea of posters and platform presentations—wondering where to start or where to stop.

So I asked our scientists at Promega what their tips are for getting the most out of a conference. Here are our Conference ProTips:

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Festival of Genomics: Not Your Typical Scientific Conference

27849820-May-6-FOG-LOGOAs a global life sciences company, Promega participates in scientific conferences and trade shows around the world, all year long. ISHI, ASHG, SLAS, ISBER, PAG, SOT, ESHG—the alphabet of conference names may be hard to keep straight, yet preparation for each involves a strong collaboration between Promega R&D scientists, product managers and the marketing services team. A new conference on the calendar caught our attention recently, as it’s billed as a “Festival.” That’s right, the name Festival of Genomics hints at its unique nature, and true to its title, it offers a novel approach in its organization, focus and objectives.

Created and organized by a London-based media company, Front Line Genomics, the Festival is described as a “three day celebration of genomics across the spectrum from the lab to the clinic, taking in new research, technology and advances in medicine.” The young event is intended to provide an environment for scientists to gather, connect and share with their peers. The hope is that new ideas will flourish and ultimately lead to more progress in the field of genomics research.

Also somewhat novel, a different “flavor” of festival is offered in three different cities worldwide. The Boston Festival will be held June 27-29, the California (San Diego) Festival September 19-21, and the London Festival January 30–February 1, 2017. By offering it three times a year in various locations, more members of the genomics community have the opportunity to participate. And the festivals are open not only to research scientists, but to anyone who considers themselves part of that community, including academia, industry, healthcare organizations, patient organizations, and investment firms. Continue reading