Attending the 17th Conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists (IACIS22) followed by a two-day workshop in Brisbane, Australia, was a great experience.
Since the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic turned most conferences to online attendance, being able to travel to Australia to attend the first in-person international conference of my PhD was very exciting.
The conference started on Sunday evening with a reception, where I and two other PhD students from my group were able to check out the venue. There we were able to catch up with someone who had previously done a postdoc in our group and meet their new group. Over a glass of wine and some finger food we were able to meet some established academics that our supervisor knows, and talk to other PhD students that were attending the conference.
On Monday the conference talks started. After the opening ceremony and an interesting talk by the main plenary, Prof. Stephen Hyde, the talks were split into four rooms, by approximate topic.
On the first day I stayed in one room, as it was the one I was also going to present in, and all the talks were right within the area of interest of my research. I was able to present well in front of a friendly audience and receive excellent questions and some interesting suggestions before the time for questions regrettably ran out.
Elly (second from right) with her colleagues in Brisbane.
On the second and third day of the conference talks I attended talks in different fields and learned about a lot of interesting research outside of my own field of research. Here, I found the use of similar methods to the ones I'm using, but in vastly different systems, as well as the use of similar systems to the ones I’m researching, but in different contexts, which was very inspirational. This, together with the ideas I got from talking about my research, gave me ideas for some things to try out within my project and some things to pay attention to, that I have since started to implement.
Outside of the schedules of the day there were opportunities to further connect with people over lunch, dinner and afterwards. Overall, I consider it an invaluable experience to be able to give an in-person talk and to exchange ideas with others in my general field, but with expertise of different systems, methods and applications, and hope that I will be able to carry on some of the connections I have made into the future.
Thursday and Friday encompassed workshops organised through IACIS at the University of Queensland. On the Thursday I participated in labs, learning methods that can be used for particle characterisation and Cryo-TEM, and on the Friday day I attended a seminar on the experimental method XPS.
Learning about the range of use and potential applications, as well as their limitations and complementary functions with other methods, will help me broaden my approaches towards my research subject, as well as help to further solidify the basis of any results.
Overall, I find myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend and present at IACIS22 and would like to thank the University of Bath and the STFC for funding my project, and the Armourers & Brasiers Travel Grant, the CSCT Travel Bursary, the Rideal Travel Bursary and the RSC Researcher Development Grant for enabling be to attend this conference.