What do you picture when someone says, “scientific conference?”

Do you imagine a room full of gray suits, eggshell-colored walls, and long talks? If so, you will be surprised to hear how things have changed (for the better of course). Conferences offer some real advantages and serve as a great opportunity to learn, connect, and even relax. Here’s why.

Communicating your ideas and research findings to others is crucial to advance the public health community. Receiving feedback on these ideas is equally important to ensure your work makes an impact. Journals and online communities can provide some of this feedback, but they do not convey the full story. There is nothing like talking face to face with someone who is equally excited about your research topic. The engaged conversation and relaxed vibe offered at a conference’s cocktail hour can have you chatting with a field “superstar” without you even realizing it. Thus, the playing field is levelled, titles are dropped, and all parties come away from an interaction with new ideas and potentially a partnership! Not bad, right?

Conferences also offer a break. A break from your daily routine, a chance to get away, and a chance to re-spark your creativity. We often forget how important it is to step back from our work and just take a breather. We need these breaks to kickstart our creativity and come up with that next great idea. Many people combine conference travel with a few days of relaxation. After all, you did just travel to someplace new, why not explore the local cuisine and see some sights? Digesting all that information can be a little easier in a new environment.

Okay, so now that you’re thinking about going to a scientific conference, you have to choose a place to start. Let me help you with that – start with the 19th International Congress on Infectious Diseases (ICID) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this coming February. With over 2,000 attendees gathering to discuss pressing issues in the field of infectious diseases and public health, the ICID is the ideal place to begin your journey in the world of scientific conferences. You will see experts with new poster designs, vote on questions during engaging keynote presentations, and select the winner of a global photo contest. If you would like, showcase your work and submit an abstract for either a poster or oral presentation (deadline: October 25, 2019).

I guarantee you’re in for an awesome experience.

I should know, the 18th ICID two years ago was one of the first scientific conferences I attended. Before this, I had only been to small University conferences, which I must admit, were lacklustre. As I boarded the jet to attend the ICID, I didn’t know what to expect. When I arrived, I was truly impressed and beyond excited to be a part of such a diverse group of (down to earth) intellectuals. Honestly, the hardest part was trying to choose which talks/posters I wanted to visit. There was something for everyone.

So, here’s the point – scientific conferences are a worthy investment of your time, energy, and funds. Heck, many departments still reserve funding to send researchers to these conferences and your time there can be considered work! Just ask around to see what’s available within your department. You can meet experts, come up with new ideas for your research, and ultimately enjoy yourself in a unique new setting.

So… give it a try and I hope to meet you at the 19th ICID in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia early next year!

About the author:

John Ramatowski holds a dual degree Master’s in One Health and Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Royal Veterinary College. He’s completing his second Master’s in Medical Sciences degree at Boston University School of Medicine. Currently, he serves as the Grants Specialist at the International Society for Infectious Diseases headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts USA.

 


Blog post photo of Kuala Lumpur is courtesy of: CK Yeo