By Emma Reeves
Organisation Committee member
The Faculty of Medicine Research Conference took place in June 2022, allowing many of our colleagues to present their research to the wider Faculty. It was brilliant to see so much engagement with the conference this year, having almost 100 abstracts submitted from across the different Schools. This was my third year as part of the conference organising committee and I’m always amazed by the exceptional quality and diversity of the research within the Faculty that is showcased at the conference each year.
We opted for a hybrid event this year, using the virtual Teams platform for oral presentations from selected abstract submissions on day one. There were 30 oral presentations over five sessions throughout the day, covering a wide range of topics and themes, and each talk was informative, engaging and a pleasure to listen to. The second day was our first in-person conference since 2019 in the ‘post-lockdown’ world and provided us all with some much-needed networking (and socialising!) with our colleagues, whilst also celebrating the 50 years University-Hospital partnership. And what better venue than Turner Sims Concert Hall on a sunny day in June!
Professor Sir Charles George commenced the day ‘in conversation’ with Professor Diana Eccles, reflecting on the Medical School from past to present as well as the importance of the University-Hospital partnership. Throughout the day, there were 60 poster presentations, with a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere during each of the poster sessions, and it was truly fantastic to see researchers presenting their work in person again. There was so much energy and networking! A particular highlight of the day was the dynamic pitch session, with presenters condensing their research into 3-minute pitches, a skill that was expertly mastered.
We were fortunate to welcome five of the Public Contributor Recognition Scheme nominees as judges for the first ever ‘Lay Infographic Presentation’ session. This was such a wonderful addition to the programme this year and really highlighted the importance of communicating science in a way that is accessible to everyone. My hope is that we will continue these infographics, and the contribution to judging by the nominees of the scheme, in our future conferences.
It’s not often we get to hear about the personal journeys of our colleagues during their career, but perhaps the most inspiring session of the day was listening to the reflections from our invited Southampton Alumni, Professor Keith Godfrey, Dr Jane Wilkinson and Mr Paul Grundy. There was a strong sense of encouragement and motivation in this session and seemed a fitting way to conclude the conference and 50-year celebrations.
Of course, the conference wouldn’t have taken place without the fabulous conference organising committee who deserve recognition. They have worked tirelessly over the last 6 months to allow us to deliver both the online and in-person events in such a smooth and effortless manner for 2022!
Finally, I was excited to see the return of the LSPS Faculty Conference After Party. Whilst I’m far too old for that now, it did remind me of my time as a PhD student, where the Faculty Conference was one of the first opportunities to present my research, as well as network with other students and ECRs from different Schools. This really extends to all career stages, with the Faculty Conference allowing us to collectively view the progress of the research undertaken in our Faculty, whilst providing the opportunity to network with peers and colleagues to plan for the future. After all, some of the best ideas and collaborations come from chatting in the queue for coffee!