Local Hub for Canadian Conference

Written by: David Wahlqvist, Tianyi Hu, Robin Sjökvist and Mikelis Marnauza, Doctoral students, Centre for Analysis and Synthesis, Department of Chemistry

In March 2022 there was a conference taking place at McMaster University in Canada. The topic of the conference was in-situ electron microscopy, which is a narrow topic but also highly relevant for the research groups at Lund University working at the National Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy (nCHREM). The problem was however that the conference was taking place during only two days, and travelling to Canada to attend a two-day conference is simply too far, even if the topic is highly relevant. Luckily, the conference was adapted to a hybrid format. To attend the conference “from home”, 4 PhD students at nCHREM decided to create a local hub in Lund for the conference.

Due to the time difference between Sweden and Canada, the conference hours were from the late afternoon to the late evening. The local hub event was therefore combined with some nice pizza and beer to kick-start the conference. The first night the local hub gathered in one of the PhD student’s home. This really gave the added benefit not only of making it a social activity, but also of being able to discuss the talks in the group. The arrangement was also very flexible, meaning that everyone could drop in and out according to their schedule.

All-in-all, the PhD students at nCHREM got a very nice conference experience even though they did not travel to the conference location in Canada. The social interaction and discussion elements were clearly there, although the opportunity to network was not. The arrangement was also very flexible, and saved huge amounts of money, CO2 emissions and travel time. For short but highly relevant conferences, the local hub option is really recommended and probably allows researchers to attend more conferences than what would have been possible if only attending in person.

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