4 Reasons You Should Organize a Scientific Conference or Workshop
Researchers often become so focused on lab work and publishing that they often tend to forget the other important aspect of a successful career—professional networking! One way to get out of your lab and meet new colleagues is by organizing a conference or workshop. Conferences are usually larger events centered on presenting research, while workshops are smaller, hands-on events that teach a skill or method. Today, we will discuss some of the benefits for researchers organizing such events.
What Makes an Event Successful?
There are many factors that contribute to make a conference or workshop successful. As an organizer, it is easy to become fixated on the small details and worry that the venue, the catering, or the travel arrangements will make or break your event. However, in reality, people attend conferences mainly to network, exchange ideas, and engage in professional development. Because of this, the most important details of your event will be the people you invite and the quality of the work presented.
Choosing a well-known keynote speaker or workshop instructor is one of the best ways to attract people to your event. When people see high-profile names, they will be more eager to attend. Having a disappointing keynote speaker can overshadow an otherwise successful conference. An exciting and successful conference or workshop will also have high-quality work shared in innovative ways. While you can choose a specific theme, many organizers choose something general such as “emerging trends in…” This is to ensure a large pool of paper submissions. Having many submissions to choose from increases the chances of featuring good research.
Why Should I Organize a Conference?
The idea of organizing a conference or workshop may seem quite overwhelming. However, before you say no, consider the benefits that organization has for you as a researcher.
- Events are a great way to network, and organizing one puts you at the center. You will be in contact with all of the speakers and have a chance to interact personally. This can open doors to form personal relationships that will help your career in the future.
- Event organizing can help you develop your soft skills. Communication, teamwork, and organization are all valuable skills that can put you ahead of the game later on.
- You can control the agenda. Ok, this isn’t always possible as funding organizations may have their own demands. But generally, as the organizer you can highlight certain papers or emerging research. You can feature someone whose ideas you think should be getting more attention and influence the discussion within your field.
- If you are active in the organization of the conference, you can also have a strong role in editing any of the final papers that come as a result of the event. This can increase your publication record.
Event financing can be obtained in different ways. You can apply for sponsorship from governments, companies, or universities. Many conferences charge a fee to attend in order to offset the costs of organizing. However, make sure that the fee is reasonable and in line with other similar conferences in the field. Otherwise, you run the risk of appearing predatory.
If you don’t have the resources to start your own event from scratch, you can bid to organize an existing conference. Many fields have annual conferences that different institutions take turns bidding to host, such as INEBRIA or the WGO conference. INEBRIA brings together practitioners and academics from around the world to share their research and experiences through symposiums, workshops, and presentations.
Have you organized a scientific conference or workshop? Did it help your career? Share your experiences in the comments below.