13 Oct 2014
I was honoured to be granted a Rideal Travel Bursary to attend the 28th Conference of the European Colloid and Interface Society in September 2014. Although there was a period when it looked like it might not proceed, thanks to the dedicated team at Diesenhaus Unitours the 2014 ECIS conference was relocated from Haifa, Israel to Limassol, Cyprus. As a third year PhD student at the University of Bristol this was a great opportunity to share my work in the form of an oral presentation entitled 'Polymer Brushes from a Novel Polymer Macroinitiator'.
As this was my first international conference I didn't know how my talk would be received by the audience, so I was relieved that not only were the questions not as fiendish as I had imagined but that I also was given complements about my presentation afterwards. After my presentation I was able to discuss my work with students and academics building links with other researchers and institutions which hopefully will lead to lasting scientific relationships.
The overall quality of both the talks and posters presented over the five days of the conference was very high with a wide range of topics discussed. In between the sessions themselves there was time to talk to presenters about their work allowing me the chance to discuss research with a variety of scientists all from different backgrounds, providing me with new ideas and perspectives.
The wide range of speakers and poster presentations present provided me an opportunity to discover more about research in my own field as well as several closely linked fields, providing me with an insight into areas I wouldn't normally be in contact with in Bristol. Using this I spent some time during the conference thinking about my own work in a more abstract and critical way from the viewpoint of another group with a different grounding entirely, I found this to be invaluable as I will be writing my PhD thesis soon which will require me to critique my work objectively from the viewpoint of the general scientific community.
In addition to the conference itself there were additional activities arranged by the organisers allowing the opportunity to socialise and talk to people about their experiences both from academic and professional work backgrounds as well the chance to look around the area where the conference was being held. The combination of a more formal setting where research was examined and a more informal environment where life experiences were discussed afforded me with a chance to engage with current research and the motivations behind it as well.
I would like to thank SCI and the RSC for granting me a Rideal Travel Bursary which made it possible to attend and also present my work at this conference. I would also like to thank my supervisor, Dr Wuge Briscoe, for his guidance and encouraging me to attend as well as my group at the University of Bristol who helped me perfect my presentation. Attending this conference has broadened my horizons, not only in terms of research but also with the variety of people and cultures present. Overall it was a truly valuable experience which every young researcher should have.
SCI-RSC Rideal travel award recipient