Looking back, looking forward
Looking back to the joint European Congress of Epidemiology & SSM Annual Scientific Meeting 2019, Cork, IRELAND
Check out our ASM Gallery.
A summary of the evaluation survey by Elizabeth Breeze
What did you get out of the ASM?
I have evaluated the ASM several times. Most recently the questions group into 10 sections: Registration & pre-conference; conference organisation; parallel oral sessions; poster sessions; workshops and social activities; rapid-fire sessions; conference structure; plenary sessions; requests for innovations; about you. The questionnaire has become lengthy and I would like to shorten it considerably for 2020. So, one reason for this blog is to seek ideas of what you consider to be the most important measures to include.
One year I was on the organising committee for the ASM. My part was very small but I could see how much work it involves and learned that the host university may restrict what the organisers can do, so if the venue isn’t perfect it might be the best that can be achieved. Also, I was on the Committee when HG3 was contracted to take over membership and event bookings and to be at the ASMs. This took a huge load off key members of the Committee and meant that there was less re-inventing the wheel each year.
It seems that the conference structure is broadly acceptable; innovations like the rapid-fire sessions welcomed but a previous innovation of post-plenary discussants not so successful. If the rooms can be close to each other, the space for breaks large enough for people to circulate, and the poster rooms spacious and close to the oral sessions, all good. Being able to move between talks within a session is a plus compared to other conferences. Although some would like the timetable contracted into 2 days and the social outings dropped, my impression is that this is a small minority. Posters and food usually draw the most negative comments. In 2019 the moderated poster sessions did not work well: a mix of confusion as to what should happen, tight space and noise.
An aspect which I cannot fully judge from the evaluations is what matters most to people. Is dissatisfaction with food as important as the rooms used for oral sessions and good chairing? Also, what did you get out of the ASM? I would be interested to learn and might consider a question on this for the next ASM evaluation.
A plea for those who attend to complete the forms. In 2019 under half did so. Responses are informative for us. Thank you to all those who did submit forms and especially to those whose comments gave fresh ideas or insights into why some aspects are welcomed or not.
2020 is a significant year with new Government, Brexit, and many concerns about public health and about the future of non-UK colleagues. Wishing that it turns out well in the face of these challenges.
I look forward to Cambridge