Euroscience Open Forum: experiences of a recent Marie Curie starter

Dr Ebun Abarshi, Marie Curie Action Researcher, EUROIMPACT Project, International Observatory on End of Life Care, University of Lancaster, UK

Dr Ebun Abarshi

Marie Curie Action Researcher, Dr Ebun Abarshi

As a medical doctor and experienced researcher working on the EUROIMPACT project, I was thrilled to be one of the many Marie Curie Actions researchers who attended the Euroscience Open Forum 2012 in Dublin, Ireland, on 10-12 July. The conference was hosted in the ultra-modern Convention Centre Dublin.

My project group sponsored my participation at the conference. Perhaps the most striking message was given by Martin Hynes (CEO European Science Foundation), during the opening ceremony when he spoke about the impact of research on the current European economy. This again underscored the relevance of my research in an ageing Europe.

Highlights from day one
During the parallel session, I learnt practical ways of exploiting social media to promote my work. I opened a Twitter account straight away! Then I met Pallab Ghosh (BBC Science Correspondent), James Gillies, CERN Spokesperson, and Louise Byrne (Marie Curie Programme Officer) during the break. The poster sessions were very interactive indeed, and the evening concluded with a sumptuous buffet.

Networking

Scenes from Dublin

Scenes from Dublin

On the second day, fellows were randomly asked to talk about their research in three minutes! This session was great because it produced greater connectivity between us, and it was easier to identify people with similar interests thereafter. Later I met colleagues working on the EUROIMPACT Project in the Netherlands and Belgium. Overall, this was by far the best conference I have attended in a while.

Public awareness
During the conference, some people asked about my work. Given that these were researchers, I was a quite surprised how little they knew about palliative sedation. One media representative even said ‘palliative sedation’ was a form of ‘assisted-suicide’. I remember a Japanese study, which showed salient differences between physician and public opinion on end of life decisions (Morita et al, 2003), and have therefore resolved to do something about informing the public about the therapeutic use of sedation at the end of life. Hopefully, I can apply tips from this conference in achieving that…

Being my first time in Dublin, I visited a few places and learnt some Gaelic: “An bhfuil pian ort?” (Are you in any pain?) and “Beidh an dochtuir anseo gan mhoill!” (The doctor will be here soon!)

Without doubt, I enjoyed the conference and I’m glad I could enhance my skills and network with others.

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