In 2017, NaturalScience.Careers launched its first research project — the conference study project. We set out to remodel the standard science conference event by adding an interactive format and herewith extending opportunities conferences hold for scientists by providing them with improved networking experiences. With the introduction of small round-table discussion groups we aim to make conferences more inclusive events for everybody.
For over a year now our study, coordinated by Peter Kronenberg, has become a valuable platform for supporting and connecting with multiple groups from academia and industry, all interested in creating better conference events.
Many of these collaborations began when conference organisers contacted us about how they could for example de-bias the selection processes for their speaker selection processes or wanted to create particularly family-friendly environments. We collaborated to develop inclusive conference environments and sensitise each other to the various needs of conference participants and organisers. The feedback from participants and conference organising teams created indispensable networks which enabled us to refine our perspectives on the study project’s initial ideas and the set-up of our research approach.
We were glad to be able to share preliminary results at two meetings: the GenderingMINTdigital collaborative research project in Freiburg and the I, Scientist 2018 conference. These were wonderful opportunities for getting feedback from people invested in current discussions on science career planning, gender and networking.
Naturally, we couldn’t find the “one-size-fits-all” answer to all the challenges science conference organisers face. Challenges remain diverse and often very specific to the conference context, size and research field.…