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Why attend an academic conference?

From undergraduates to Mid- and late career professionals. Conferences are part of academic professional development. Conferences can range from thousands to tens of thousands of people. They can be global or local. Over time you may find yourself attending the same conference year after year and eventually on the planning committee.

Academic Conferences- In-person, Virtual, Necessary

There are many reasons to attend academic conferences. When thinking about how to make the most of an academic conference consider five aspects. First, there is unbeatable networking. We can meet up with colleagues from previous summer programs, graduate school, postdocs, or other professional. Second many conferences offer job sessions and CV review. Third,  career development and diversity sessions offer opportunities to expand how we think about the future. Next, updates of technology, kits, and protocols are offered. Networking, job sessions, career development. Finally, and very important getting to know the advances in research. See who is doing similar research and novel approaches.  These reflect the point of academic conferences.

There is no better time, than now. You may not have to purchase a plane ticket nor must pay for a hotel. Many conferences have transitioned to an online format. One of our team members is attending a conference at Harvard (online) to build connections and learn what is new in the field and to save a bundle on travel. Presenting your research at academic conferences is a great way to get recognized in your field. This may lead to your next position and at least information related to when positions become available.

Which conference do I attend?

When thinking about how to find an academic conference, think about your scientific area. Generally, attend the conference of your discipline. However, you may find a session to submit an abstract related to your field. For example, if you work in cell signaling, maybe you work on signaling in a bone related cell and can attend the Gordon Conference on Bone.  The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology keeps a list of current conferences. However, this is list may not be comprehensive.   Email us to get our list of scientific societies worth joining here (enter send my society list in the message box). Our conference by field is a list of academic conferences in biomedical science that are critical to building biomedical careers.

Academic Conferences 2020 are increasingly being listed online.

Many online conferences are currently soliciting opportunities to submit research. This means you canget your work out these and add the accepted proposal to your CV (get our Free CV checklist here (enter send CV check list in the message!) 

Three biomedical science conferences to consider:

  1. #celbio2020  The American Society for Cell Biology

December 2-16 Early Registration by September 30

2. Society for neuroscience- January 11-13, 2021

Nore information about this conference can be found here

See inside the society for neuroscience conference

3. VKS Virtual Keystone Symposia are open for registration across disciplines.

I attended and presented at the society for neuroscience conference and it was one the largest conferences. It was a great experience to translate immunology to neuroimmunology as I studied adaptive immune responses in preclinical models.

Getting the most out of an academic conference depends on how much of the conference you attend. The interesting thing about conferences is that as graduate students and postdocs there are membership discounts. However, the access to information and network are valuable. Sessions at conferences include research, technology updates, career development, and job fairs. Don’t for get to keep space in your travel bag for scientific pens and pencils.

How to get into a acdemic conference?

Most conferences require a membership. Many organizations allow you to direct purchase memberships. Some organizations require a member supported application. What that means is that your application must be supported my memberships of two active members. How do you find those? When I did it, I emailed two professors at my graduate school who were in the field and described what I was working and that I wanted to submit an abstract to present. Then described that I needed two active members membership numbers to support my membership application. At first, I got 1 member and 1 nonmember. Then I strategized to see who should be active (chairs of the department) and found a member that send their membership number for my application. Consider when emailing a chair that it may take a few days before they read it. This is also a good way to develop the professional network and a mentor. If someone supports, your conference interest let them know you got an abstract accepted and how the presentation went. This can keep the door open to future recommendations, letters of support, and sponsorships.

FREE academic job search at conferences informational from Biomed Careers!

Sign up to review our 6 steps to How to target your academic position at conferences here ( nter send my 6 steps to conferences in the message box) . With these six steps you will identify when to have your CVS ready, how to navigate conferences to leverage visibility, how to navigate online conferences, understand how vendors help the academic Job search, steps before and after the conference. There is high value in attending national conferences, from reconnecting to making new connections. The advantages of attending now are savings in travel (unless you have funding). So, join and make sure memberships are active, submit abstracts, and mark your calendar to get the latest in research in your field!

September 17, 2020


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