Academic conferences are an integral part of the scientific community. Such conferences are a platform for researchers to share their most recent findings with their peers and to encourage a healthy discussion between researches from a variety of backgrounds and fields of study. However, in this day and age, attendance at such symposiums of knowledge are slowly diminishing. Why you ask? People nowadays don’t seem keen in sitting for hours listening to “someone talking”. The fast-paced life and technological advancements has caused us to shy away from such social events that involve actual time and energy to socialize and learn something new.
We’ve put together a few things that you’re missing out if you’re not one of those that are not too keen on attending elaborate academic discussions:
Academic conferences help you network. You get to meet researchers and scholars not only from your own field of study, but also those from related fields. This gives you a broader perspective on your field and you will be able to see how the different areas interconnect to bring about a substantial finding. Meeting new people also means that you make new business connections and these may prove quite beneficial when you have a new research project sometime in the future. Not only that, you get to meet the most knowledgeable in the field and if you strike them up the right way, they might be keen in being your mentor, giving you valuable guidance along the way.
One of the other main reasons for organizing such academic conventions is the learning factor tied to it. Just by attending them, you get first-hand insight into certain industries and areas of study. Interestingly, much of the time, you have revolutionary moments at such conferences where you realize that a certain technique or process used in another field of study as common practice, may become the next novel breakthrough in yours. Besides those moments of epiphany, you may also learn new things related to better safety management and laboratory processes.
☑ Hone Skills
One of the main skills that you’ll get to put into practice at an academic conference is your ability to present your findings with self-confidence and a developing a personal touch to the way you connect with your audience. By presenting at an academic conference, you are also gradually getting better at presenting your research in “layman’s” terms, especially for those who are not quite familiar with your field of research. When you listen to someone presenting their research, there are quite a few benefits as well. You may just pick up a few new skills and processes that you can incorporate into your daily laboratory processes and optimize overall functions at your workplace.
☑ Staying Updated
The best thing about academic conferences is that you’re always ahead of the game. Since the main function of such convention of minds are all about sharing new findings, you’d be the first to know what’s happening and which advances are occurring across all fields that are of interest to you. You’d also be up to speed on any possible technological advances, especially in terms of artificial intelligence and robotics and how they may play a part in your field of study. Besides that, you’d also get first hand access to the most updated basics at a laboratory, which are the standard procedures, laboratory management and ethics as well as the latest safety measures.
You can argue that reading a scientific journal can provide you with most of these, but an insight that comes directly from the researcher may just have additional findings and notes that may have not been in their publications. These are just the tip of the iceberg when discussing the benefits of attending an academic conference. It’s not just a bunch of smart people convening to waste hours of their time. Rather, it’s a meeting of the minds, a sharing session that benefits one and many.
So, if you’re one of those people that have not attended an academic conference, try it out. You’d be surprised at what you may learn, the people that you will be meeting and the profound impact that it will have on the way you conduct yourself and your work as a researcher and a person of scientific background.