The Society understands that opportunities to present your work, hear from and network with leaders in your field are invaluable for career development. But how do you find the means to attend those extremely-relevant-to-your-career conferences?
Society Travel Grants are available to fund worldwide conference travel, to help you get your work recognised on the world stage. Two previous awardees, Emma Batchen and Julie McNairn, tell us where these grants took them and how they could improve your career prospects.
- What do you do, and what are your areas of interest in endocrinology?
- Emma Batchen: I’m a final year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and my research focuses on understanding the effect of antenatal glucocorticoid treatment in the maturation of the foetal heart. I want to find out the benefits of this treatment in mothers at risk of pre-term birth.
- Julie McNairn: I am also a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and about to submit my thesis! My work – a combination of disciplines from my previous MSc, neuroscience and cardiovascular biology – investigated neuroendocrine control of salt appetite and blood pressure.
- How many Society Travel Grants have you received and where did they take you?
- Emma: I have received three travel grants – two to attend SfE BES conferences in Edinburgh and Brighton, and one to go to the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology 2016 meeting in Florence. The SfE BES conferences were ideal to get exposure to the many aspects of endocrinology, whereas the event in Florence allowed me to concentrate on the centre of my research, the heart.
- Julie: I have received one travel grant, which I used to attend the Federation of European Neuroscience conference, FENS 2016, in Copenhagen. My work spans multiple disciplines and major conference, such as this one, allow me to present all aspects of my work and to receive input from many different angles.
- What did you get out the experience?
- Emma: Presenting my work at large events has made me a more confident person. I met potential employers and collaborators in my research field, made new friends and visited places of the world I had never been to before.
- Julie: The grant enabled me to gauge the interest of the scientific community and exchange ideas and concepts of how my work may benefit from different research directions. It also helped me build on my public speaking and public engagement skills – I spoke to a large number of European scientists about my findings and pitfalls, which helped me to see what the most engaging aspects of my work were. FENS offered amazing talks, the highlights of which were the superb presidential lectures, led by speakers with an unrivalled passion for their research.
- Would you apply again? If so, where are you planning to go?
- Emma: Absolutely! I am applying to attend the next SfE BES in Harrogate.
- Julie: I will definitely apply for another grant as soon as my thesis write-up is finished. All future plans are on hold until then!
- Would you recommend the grant to others?
- Emma: Yes, because it’s a fantastic experience both personally and professionally, and you get to visit different places around the world. It’s a win-win situation!
- Julie: Yes, it was easy to apply and I was awarded £600 to attend FENS, I would not have been able to afford the conference otherwise. Thanks to the grant, I got to talk to many other scientists about their work, which helped me appreciate the plethora of amazing research that I otherwise would have never known about.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
- Emma: These grants have definitely allowed me to grow as a PhD student and set me up for a career in research, for which I am extremely grateful to the Society.
- Julie: The grants also give you the chance to explore new destinations. Copenhagen is a stunning city and I was fortunate enough to be able to extend my trip for a couple of days after the conference to experience some of the sights.
If your abstract has been accepted for SfE BES 2017, apply for a Travel Grant before 15 August 2017 to help cover your registration, travel and accommodation costs for the upcoming annual meeting of your Society!
Want to travel somewhere else too? Don’t fret – there are two more deadlines in December 2017 and March 2018 to attend other conferences. Members are entitled to two travel grants per year, subject to eligibility criteria.