A conference experience from a young researcher’s point of view

By Sweta Munshi, PhD student, University of Nottingham

On 17th February, 2020 I took part in H2FC Supergen conference along with my supervisors Professor Gavin Walker and Professor David Grant and my colleagues. A large pool of audience from different backgrounds attended the fun filled 2 days conference to discuss and know more about different aspects of hydrogen technologies and economy My supervisors were also invited to give a talk about current hydrogen scenario around the world.

I also took part in two events, one is poster presentation and another one is 3 minutes thesis competition where we presented our research work in a simpler way to a large group of people from different background The audience seemed to be split evenly between students, researchers, professors and expertise from government organisations, companies.

In 3 minutes thesis competition, I gave a broad idea about my research work to the audience but as the time was limited the audience interaction was not great It was more like a question, answer round from the expertise.

The poster presentation event took place after the conference over drinks break With beer bottles in hand people from other backgrounds, especially students became more comfortable in asking questions and getting involved in one to one conversations The atmosphere became more relaxing so I decided to put up a fun quiz to attract more people and to make my work more appealing to them I prepared 2 3 simple
questions from my 3 minutes presentation slides and those who answered the questions correctly were encouraged with chocolates but sadly the success rate was low This made me realise that people from other professions didn’t connect with my work that much from my slide presentation earlier as they did with my poster presentation After the short quiz I gave them an in depth information with the help of my poster It was mostly one to one.

After that I asked them to share feedback on their understanding between my 3 minutes presentation slides and my one to one poster presentation People responded to be more comfortable with the poster presentation.
To them the poster presentation was more fun as it was more informal and “ based on scientific principles They also said as the 3 minutes thesis presentation was time constrained, I had to talk first That made the learning experience a bit messy for the people from different backgrounds and students.

Overall what I learned from this conference was people always connect with your work when the ambience is more relaxed and the conversation is more informal as there were no room for judgements for the audience to ask simple questions where they didn’t have to stand up to ask questions in a hall full of audience with all eyes pointing at them It was more comfortable for me as well as a presenter Both sided overall experience was smooth For me the best moment of that event was when my supervisor came to me with a smiling face to take part in my activity We had a great chat over it.
Pictures credit https://www flickr com/photos/187181998 @N 07/72157713277625258/49592023017