Meeting Report: Young Environmental Scientists Meeting (YES-Meeting) 2011 in Aachen, Germany
Markus Brinkmann, Acting Chair, SETAC Europe Student Advisory Council
The second Young Environmental Scientists Meeting (YES Meeting) was hosted from 28 February to 2 March 2011 by the Institute for Environmental Research at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. This extraordinary meeting was again initiated and organized by the Student Advisory Council (SAC) in liaison with the local organization committee (LOC) and the scientific committee (SC) under the umbrella of SETAC Europe. The chair persons of these committees—Markus Brinkmann, Sabrina Peddinghaus (both RWTH Aachen University, Germany) and Dominic Kaiser (Frankfurt University, Germany)—ensured a scientifically ambitious and fruitful meeting in a pleasant ambience under the theme “Environmental challenges in a changing world.”
Just like 2009 in Landau, Germany, this student-only meeting was exclusively organized by students and with the well-known special benefits for students: no conference fees were charged and every participant received a travel grant. Due to the remarkable financial support by the German Chemical Association, RWTH Aachen University, SETAC Europe, the SETAC Europe German Language Branch and a number of companies (BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dr. Knoell Consult, Harlan Laboratories Ltd., Hydrotox, and Syngenta), it was possible to invite 90 presenters selected from the abstracts the scientific committee received from all over the world. Due to the selection process, the quality of the submitted abstracts was the main aspect for invitation. Thus, the overall quality of presentations was very good. Environmental issues at the cutting edge of science were presented in 44 platform and 46 poster presentations. An extended time for discussion after each platform presentation allowed in-depth discussions on one of the seven sessions covering the broad spectrum of science represented by SETAC.
During his amazing workshop “Written and spoken science – Guidance to excellent publications and presentations,” Peter Chapman (Golder Associates, Vancouver, Canada) highlighted vital aspects of writing papers and preparing posters or platform presentations. In interactive group working slots, the students discussed and practiced presentation techniques and their critical view on scientific publications. The extraordinarily positive feedback from students demonstrates not only the demand for such lessons but also the enormous engagement Peter extended during his workshop.
Career talks—a regular SAC activity—given by Juliane Hollender (EAWAG, Switzerland) and Steve Maund (Syngenta, Switzerland) provided important and very personal insights into career planning and what it is like to work at a federal research institute or in industry, respectively. The Job Corner allowed representatives from some of the meeting sponsors, namely BASF, Dr. Knoell Consult and Harlan Laboratories Ltd., to introduce their companies to the participants who had the chance to get in contact with potential future employers.
A feedback questionnaire about the meeting reflected the expectations of the organizers well: Most of the participants considered this meeting very valuable and a good chance for first-timers to gain experience at a scientific meeting. According to the participants, the scientific spirit during the congress was not clouded by strategic considerations but driven by the curiosity for the research of their fellow students, which was much appreciated.
The Student Advisory Council wants to thank all sponsors, supporters, the local organizers, all participants, Juliane and Steve, and especially Peter for the great time we all had during the meeting. For further information, a press review, the abstract book, as well as updates on the next YES-Meeting, please check our meeting website.
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