6 Oct 2017
Georgios Kasparis was awarded a Rideal Travel Bursary in May 2017 to attend the UK Colloids 2017, Manchester, UK, 10 - 12 July 2017. Georgios is a PhD student at the University College London. Here he describes how his attendance has broadened his scientific interests and the opportunity to take advantage of exchanging comments and ideas with world experts and increase visibility to his work.
'UK Colloids is an interdisciplinary conference which attracts scientists working with colloids from different fields with different applications, materials and prospects. The conference was split into different themes of colloidal science. Our work fell within the nanoparticle section. The nanoparticle section would certainly attract experts in the field and specifically scientists working on magnetic nanoparticles and nanocomposites of magnetic materials due to their importance in nanomedicine and wide range of applications in technology. It was important then, at this early stage of my career, to disseminate our work in developing better magnetic materials for biomedical applications, exchange comments and ideas with world experts and increase visibility of our work. The conference was comprised of other colloidal materials too. The relevant sections could also allow a fresh pair of eyes to see things from another perspective, envisage new applications and why not establish new collaborations. Other sections were also very important to the conference. The importance of interdisciplinary science is well established and other themes would attract scientists from relevant areas that could provide a taste of the wider current state of the art research happening all over the world. Beyond my specific topic, scientists had presented work with other materials also of relevance and importance to biomedicine. Great and interesting work had been presented and new connections were established as the conference was progressing. Frequent breaks allowed for discussion between the attendees; after all, science may never come up with a better communication method than the coffee break.
'I was fortunate to be given a slot to present my work in a talk format followed by questions. Talks are limited and this made the conference of significance to me. As this was the first international conference I attended, it was not only a matter of disseminating my work but also a chance to practice my interpersonal skills, be part of a wider scientific community and meet and discuss with world experts on nanoparticles which was an honour indeed. I condensed the work of the first two years of my PhD in a 15-minute talk as we are preparing for a research article. After delivering my presentation I received questions which confirmed that my work or talk has conveyed a message to the audience or had triggered their interest. There were not only academics present but also scientists working in industry. Interestingly, the exhibitors were also of direct relevance with whom I had a chance to talk and get some good practice tips, discuss troubleshooting issues and make connections within the companies if further help becomes necessary in the future. One can see the many benefits extracted from this conference; new collaborations, exchange of ideas, interpersonal skills, engaging with the wider scientific community, consolidating the research presented and connecting with industry; an experience I will cherish.
'Lastly, I would like to earnestly acknowledge and thank the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industry for sponsoring my attendance to UK Colloids 2017, since without them this would not have been possible. Because of their brilliant work, I was also able to attend the conference and as a result I have gained a great deal in both personal and scientific levels making it a truly remarkable experience. Thank you!'
University College London