28 September, 2018

REMEDIATE Conference 2018

Jack Lort reports on presenting at the REMEDIATE Conference in Belfast recently.

I had the pleasure to attend the REMEDIATE conference at Queens University Belfast which ran on the 19th and 20th September 2018. REMEDIATE is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action Initial Training Network for “improved decision-making in contaminated land site investigation and risk assessment”. The attendees were a mix of academics and practitioners, which proved highly beneficial for my PhD as I was able to discuss with experienced consultants how my work may influence contaminated land site investigation and risk assessment upon its completion as well as getting a different perspective on my project from researchers. 

There were four themes for presentations at the conference: Contaminated Land Biology; Site Modelling, Risk Assessment and Risk Communication; Chemical Analysis, Monitoring and Prediction; and Advances in Land Management and Resource Recovery; with my poster and presentation falling within the “Site Modelling, Risk Assessment and Risk Communication” category.

This was the first presentation I had ever given at a conference, to say I was nervous is an understatement! But, presenting was definitely a worthwhile experience, as the questions asked by the audience after my talk and over lunch really made me think, not just from the perspective of a scientist, but also from the viewpoint of a practitioner who utilise scientific outputs every day.

After the presentation was over, and I had answered the audiences questions, it made me stop and realise “Hey, actually, you know your stuff!” which I can say from speaking to other PhD students often isn’t the mind set we have, and every so often a little reminder of your knowledge of your subject area is very reassuring.     

For those contemplating whether to present at a conference, I would say go for it! I was nervous and hesitant, as I am not a confident speaker in front of large audiences, but the rewards afterwards greatly outweighed the suffering of nerves, as the perspective of others on my project will be very helpful in the long run.

I would like to thank STARS for giving me the opportunity to travel to Belfast for the conference, and it is an experience I will never forget.