The Young EPIZONE meeting was held the day before the main EPIZONE meeting and was split into several sessions and workshops. Incorporating the theme of ‘Building Bridges to the Future’ and with positive feedback from the previous annual meeting we decided to focus on networking and communication.
In the morning session people were randomly allocated groups and were given a debate topic with information and time in those groups to prepare their cases which were presented to everyone. We tried to use this format to make the meeting less intimidating and to allow people to work with people that they didn’t know. Debating also gives people the opportunity to respond to questions in a non threatening environment!
Improve networking and CV writing
The afternoon session comprised a networking presentation on why and how to improve your networking followed by small group work to prepare an ‘elevator pitch’. This was followed by presentations from Merial and Qiagen representatives on what they look for in a CV and at the interview. Young EPIZONE members were asked to bring along a copy of their CV’s for the final workshop on CV writing and were provided with a handout on how to prepare a good CV and covering letter.
In the morning session we had approximately 50 people attend our meeting and around 30 for the afternoon sessions. After the final session we asked our member’s to complete a questionnaire for feedback about the meeting.Almost half rated the CV session and networking as the most useful components of the meeting and nearly 70% rated the topics covered in the meeting as very useful, the majority would like us to keep a similar format for future meetings. Several people suggested that we send out a detailed schedule prior to the meeting and we will incorporate this for future events. Other suggestions included inviting more senior scientists, this was the aim for the networking session but unfortunately invited speakers had to cancel last minute and so this was not possible.
Suggestions for the next meeting
We asked for suggestions on subjects to be covered in the future and these included how to write a good paper, work on the elevator pitch, oral and poster presentation workshops. In our first meeting we ran workshops on poster and oral presentations which proved to be popular and so hope to re run these in April.
We provided handouts on poster presentations at our poster walk, were Young EPIZONE members worked in groups of 2 or 3 and rated all the posters and presented their top 2 or 3 in each category to the rest of the group highlighting why they had been chosen. We presented prizes for the best PhD and non PhD posters. This proved to be extremely popular and certainly encouraged people to stop and read more of the posters and shall be done again at future meetings.
On the evening of the Young EPIZONE meeting we also offered our member’s the opportunity to socialise together and arranged for those who wanted to attend to meet at one of the local restaurants and it was fantastic to see the majority of people who had attended the meeting there.
Report by Emma Fishbourne