Part of a series of blog posts from the IAB 2016 Mason Institute Scholarship Winners.
Trying to answer what I enjoyed most about attending IAB 2016 in Edinburgh, I realised it would be difficult to single out any particular talk or session. So many themes were covered by participants from various countries and professional fields during the three days, that I can only regret not having the chance to hear more. Therefore I would like to focus on an aspect of the conference that was most significant to me personally, as a student currently between finishing a Master’s degree and beginning a PhD: the sessions and presentations aimed at early career researchers.
The Congress included three panels directed especially at ECRs, on presenting, publishing and attracting funding and affecting policy. I found these sessions not only informative and interesting, but also very accessible due to their informal and straightforward style. Some of the advice and insights shared really stuck with me and I will try to keep them in mind in my own work. The discussions following these presentations were also very valuable, and I especially appreciated the raising of some issues that are particularly relevant to women and non-native speakers of English.
However, the attention given to ECRs was not exhausted by these sessions. The main programme included career keynotes from three prominent bioethicists, which I found very inspiring. The three speakers used their own experience to provide divergent and thought-provoking accounts of what it means to do bioethics, and to do it well. I also noticed that all the parallel sessions I attended included at least one researcher at the early stage of their career. Listening to young researchers and seeing their poster presentations inspired me to apply for conferences in the future and take a more active part.
As this was my first time attending both IAB and any bioethics conference, I appreciated the friendly atmosphere and the attention given to those just starting out in the field. I am very grateful to the Mason Institute for awarding me the bursary which allowed me to attend this Congress, meet peers and follow excellent discussions on some of the most pressing issues.