Friday, November 29, 2013

PSA Conference Travel Award Report

Sports Medicine Australia: Asics Conference for Science and Medicine in Sport
Phuket, Thailand, October 22-25th 2013

Sports Medicine Australia has a tradition of selecting a ‘boutique’ conference venue every two years. With the Hilton Arcadia in Phuket selected as this year’s venue, everyone attending could not have asked for a more beautiful location with white sandy beaches accompanied by crystal clear waters. This year’s conference was attended by 480 international attendees, which translated into over 150 oral and 50 poster presentations. As per expected, the amount of high quality research was evident. Clearly this piled up the pressure on myself to deliver a presentation of the same calibre. Fortunately, my presentation session was on the first day and when my time came, all things went as planned, leading to a productive discussion in the subsequent Q&A.

Although a huge sigh of relief was lifted after my presentation, I soon realised that this was when all the ‘actual’ work started. I found myself running between sessions in order to listen to specific presentations that were relevant to my field. Personally, the best part of the conference was listening to the opinions of other researchers, thus allowing myself to learn more about the different experimental designs that others have adopted to explore similar variables. Most importantly, I was fortunate enough to engage in discussions with researchers from Universities in Japan and the East Coast of Australia. Current signs appear promising, and I hope to be collaborating with them in a future study.

Another highlight of the trip was the series of workshops that were made available to attendees. I registered for one titled: ‘Publishing your work’. This workshop was an excellent resource and will come in extremely handy in the subsequent months, as I am about to complete my thesis. Clearly, the opportunity to sit down with the Editor in Chief and three Associate Editors of a highly ranked Sports Science Journal does not come by often. The Editors provided tips on what they call: ‘getting past the first hurdle’. They highlighted the importance of a sound abstract, a well-constructed hypothesis and a conclusion that accurately reflects the results, and most importantly answers the hypothesis.

In summary, the opportunity to attend this conference will play a huge role in my development. It has provided me with networking opportunities and information that will come in very handy in the near future. I strongly advise anyone who is considering attending an international conference to do it. Sometimes as a PhD student, we are ‘stuck in a bubble’ and there is so much more that can be gained by meeting fellow researchers.

Marc Sim

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