Marco Pessoa

Research Scientist (Embrapa).

Genomics, plant genetic resources, and breeding.

contact: marco [at] marcopessoa.com

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how to network on scientific meetings - a few useful links

Helpful posts on networking for scientists and students

Browsing through Google+, I ran into a blog post on how to get the most out of a scientific conference, written by a PhD student in Entomology, Crystal Ernst.

In summary, she decided to focus on specific goals, such as finding a partner for a project, and post-doc opportunities outside her country. She also focused on learning something new, leaving the comfort zone of only attending talks totally in her field. I agree with this approach, and learning early on how to get the most out of scientific meetings is something we all should try to do.

The post also linked to two other blog posts, regarding one problem I frequently face when I attend meetings, workshops, or conferences: networking. As a young researcher (some people still think I’m a student even 4 years after I got my PhD), it is still hard for me sometimes to engage on conversation at meetings, for a series of reasons. I usually wait to be comfortable with the people I would be interested to talk to - if it’s in a small meeting, that is much easier to do.

Anyway, the first post is called On Networking: A Rant, from the Neurotic Physiology blog on Scientopia. I sympathize with practically all the questions scicurious asks about networking, and with the situations and the anxiety she faces when she decides to do some networking. The post generated more than 80 comments which really add to the discussion and I advise you read those if you’re interested in this topic.

Another one came out on the Oikos blog, and it’s called Advice: how to network at conferences. It presents the point of view of a researcher on the subject, also listing plenty of useful advice for students. Don’t forget to check the comments on this one as well.

Finally, on the comments section of the first post someone added a link to an older post, from 2009, also with some helpful advice, especially for students attending their first conferences. This one is called Things to do at a meeting, by paleontologist Dave Hone.

So whether you are a student just starting at your first conferences, or a young researcher like me who still struggles to network successfully, go ahead and read those four posts. I hope you also find them useful!

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