Scientific Conference Importance – How To Make The Most Out of It?
What Can You Expect Other Than Lectures and Coffee? How to make the most of any Scientific Conferences?
When you think of a scientific conference, you might have questions like Is it important to attend a conference, Which conference to go to, what to expect from these conferences, how to present in a conference, how to get benefitted from these scientific conferences?
Look no further! This article will give an insight into what are scientific conferences – its importance, benefits, and the value of a scientific conference in your academic life.
Firstly, What is a Scientific Conference, and why should you consider attending one?
Scientific conferences are events for researchers or scientists to present and discuss their research work. Scientific conferences are held every year, nationally and internationally, all around the world. The conferences are usually organized either by universities, educational institutes, scientific society, or by a group of researchers with a common interest. The scientific conferences are important because it provides opportunities to meet people, exchange or develop ideas, new strategies to approach your research, establish collaborations, getting suggestions about their work, and get inspired. Conferences are both overwhelming and intimidating with many benefits. Especially when there aren’t many people at your university or institution conducting related research as yours. Also, these conferences are beneficial for learning about new research areas and journal publications. Conferences can be of different sizes. A small conference may last only for a day and involves only one session at a time. In contrast, a large conference may last for more than one day and may have various parallel sessions having speakers in separate rooms speaking at the same time. In some conferences, cultural programs or entertainment activities such as city tours can be a part of the program.
Types of Scientific conferences:
Scientific conferences typically fall into three categories:
- The most common are the themed conference. These are small conferences that are organized around a particular scientific topic.
- Next is the general conference. These conferences are with a broader focus, with sessions on a wide variety of topics. These conferences are organized by either regional, national, or international learned societies. These types of conferences are held annually or on some other regular basis.
- The professional conference, these are also large conferences but not limited to academics but with academically related issues.
To attend a conference, a lot of planning has to be done. Let’s discuss the importance of planning and what needs to be considered – Scientific Conference Importance
Importance of Choosing the conference you want to attend?
The choice of attending a conference can be made based on the conference attended by their professors or seniors in the past or the same as their peers are attending. Also, conferences can be preferred over others, depending on their research work area. Some attend those conferences in which you can meet those people whose papers they have read or who work at institutions in which you want to become a part of the future. For some, they prefer to attend conferences where they wish to present their research that one wishes to influence or be part of. Also, conference size (small or large attendees, a single session or concurrent sessions), cost, duration (one day or more), and venue (national or international) matters when going to choose between attending a conference. Before going into a conference, make sure that you research about certain things like on what the conference is about, where it is held, is there any dress code you need to follow, if yes, than what the dress code looks like, any documents are required like your university/institute ID, who will be the speakers, and what sessions you’d like to attend once you’re there. Don’t forget to check out the website where details of the conference are given. This will save you from some confusion or embarrassment later on.
Going Alone or with your Colleagues?
This is a very important point when it comes to – Scientific Conference Importance. Going with or without your colleagues can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous. If you are going with your professors or seniors, then it would be beneficial as they can introduce you to their colleagues so, it becomes more accessible to the network. Also, if you are with your peers, then it is useful as you already have some to give your company and also attending with your colleagues is cost-effective when it comes to sharing a hotel room. However, if you are attending the conference without your colleagues, it will be challenging to network or engage with others. But it will be useful in terms of getting an opportunity to get to know other people, making new contacts with other people having the same work area or different.
Choosing Sessions of the Scientific Conference
If the conference has multiple parallel sessions in one time block, then one has to look for a session on a topic that interests him/her but doesn’t have much knowledge about it. Many researchers get scared in attending sessions on new topics with which they are not very familiar. As a result, they end up just attending a session with familiar speakers or content. In order to understand the Scientific Conference Importance – It is also essential to understand that if one has invested time and money to be at this conference, one should be trying to expand their horizons. Some researchers really find it difficult to choose, so in that case, your colleagues may help. It’s better to split up and agree to compare notes at the end of the day. If you are attending a conference alone, then use a breakfast or tea break to find a friend at the conference and see if he or she can make a similar arrangement.
Importance of Preparing an Abstract
A vital step to attend any conference is to prepare an abstract. You should have some data that can be presented at a conference. So make an abstract of your work and ensure that the data is new and not presented in any conference.
Benefits of Presentations in a Scientific Conference:
Conferences usually involve various presentations. Typically, any researcher who wants to present his/her work in the conference has to submit an abstract of their work, which will be reviewed by the organizing committee of the conference. The research work to be presented should be related to the subject on which the conference is based.
The presentations in the conference have a specific time limit given to each speaker (usually 10-30 minutes except Keynote speaker), followed by a discussion. Conferences may also feature round tables on different issues, panel discussions, workshops, and poster sessions. In some conferences, the presented work may be written in a form as academic papers and published as conference proceedings.
Travel Grants Benefits in attending conferences
The first thing we think of is cost, and if there is a local conference, it doesn’t cost much, but the price is a constraint when you are going to some other state or internationally. The conference attending fees, transport, staying arrangement (if you are doing for yourself) are various factors that one has to plan. The solution for this problem is travel grants that are available to encourage researchers to attend the conferences nationally or internationally as these conferences help in the exchange of ideas as well as help in culture meet. Travel awards or grants can be provided by the universities or by conferences itself. But, to be eligible for the conference award, one has to be a member of the conference society. Government funding agency like Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST) also provides travel awards or grants such as CSIR Partial Financial Assistance Scheme, DBT-Conference, Travel, Exhibition and popular lectures (CTEP), etc.
Importance and Benefits of Discussion
Many researchers make unrealistic schedules for themselves that don’t include time to unwind or socialize. Also, try not doing too many things at the same time. many people fail to understand the Scientific Conference Importance when it comes to this segment. Conferences are much beneficial when some work related to your field is discussed and most importantly in these conferences; the discussion panels are beneficial as it allows young researchers to ask questions related to their work and find solutions for them. Talking to other researchers, scientists will help one build their self-confidence. Coffee breaks are a great way to have a conversation about your research work or meet people and friends. Scientific research careers are not an easy path, but it becomes more comfortable when you have support and empathy from peers. It’s always good to hear different researcher’s perspectives and to know about how to pursue specific careers.
Finally, when you go for a Conference:
- Make sure your draft of your talk or poster (in case of poster presentation).
- Read the work of some of the other scientists. Scientific conferences are not only meant for presenting your work, attend other lectures/ presentations as it will help you understand what else is going all around.
- If you are attending the conference away from your place, get some time to explore the surroundings, especially if it is in a place where you have never been to before.
- Also, make sure that you don’t hang out only with your labmates and colleagues from your university or department. Don’t miss the opportunity to build new connections.
What to do Post-conference
The last step is to what to do after the conference is over to get the maximum benefit out of it. One of the crucial things is to follow the new contacts that you have made while attending the conference. Research Gate, Linkedln are social networks where you can follow the researchers and follow their work. Also, make sure to write down important ideas that came to a head, as they’ll often slip away soon after one leaves that creative environment. Follow up with any contacts made at the conferences is also essential. Significant events such as scientific conferences can be overwhelming, so if one doesn’t follow up early, the people whom you have met in the conference might have already forgotten your face.
Remember, conferences are not only about lectures or coffee but much more than that. This article was focused on Scientific Conference Importance. While the above-listed points are very much crucial but the conference is not just limited to these. Its all about exploration and keeping & open mind to learn new things. So, I hope, whenever you plan to go to attend any conference, this article will help you not only choose the conferences but how to prepare and how to make the best out of it.
Co-Author: Prathibha HC
Editor’s Note: Scientific Conferences- Importance Benefits. What is the Importance Benefits of Scientific Conferences? Scientific Conferences- Importance Benefits Know more at Biotechnika.