A last chance to attend a conference after the pandemic

Weijie Zhou had given up help on attending a scientific conference before the end of their PhD, but thanks to an SfAM Scientific Conference Abstract Scholarship, was able to attend an international conference!

Weijie Zhou.jpg

A huge thanks to Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) for the travel grant that gave me the opportunity to attend the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2022. To be honest, I had given up on the idea of attending this conference before receiving the travel grant from SfAM because I couldn't afford the high travel and accommodation costs. I had edited the email to cancel my attendance, and before I cancel my attendance I got an email from Tina Sellwood! I couldn't believe it, everything was like a dream! Thanks to SfAM for making this fantastic conference trip. This is the first time I have participated in an offline conference since the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is also the first time I have participated in such a large conference. I am very honoured and very excited.

It was a very precious and unforgettable experience for me. I am currently in the last year of my studies and a poster presentation in the conference was a very good experience for me. Due to the pandemic there had been no real opportunity for me to attend external conferences and present my work at them. During the four days I attended the conference, I participated in many interesting symposia, workshops, forums, and oral presentations. I met microbiologists and PhD students from various universities and countries, learned about their research directions and content, and made many new friends. Their research directions and methods gave me a lot of inspiration, they also provided a lot of help and suggestions for my research, and gave some specific solutions to the difficulties I encountered. Before that, I had always limited myself to a small research scope, had very limited understanding of the methods and methods of scientific research, and was confused about my research path. After participating in many very interesting sessions and interacting with people from various fields of study, my horizons have been broadened, and I have come to think of many things that I hadn't considered before. It's such a great feeling, I seem to have confidence in my research and my profession again, and want to keep exploring. The ECR sessions also helped me to consider my future career path. Before attendance in the conference, I had been tortured by the pandemic, experiments and data analysis for a long time, and I was almost on the verge of collapse. I have to say that with the help of SfAM, I was given the opportunity to attend this conference which has saved me in almost every way.

Belfast is a beautiful city with a lot of good food. I haven't travelled in a few years because of the pandemic, so this trip to Belfast was really a great one. On the way to Belfast, because it was too late to buy a flight ticket, I chose the way of train/ferry. Although the process is very tortuous, it is a very unique experience. It was also my first time travelling by ferry and it was really an unforgettable experience.

Finally, I would like to thank SfAM again for the travel grant and help, thank Tina Sellwood for her help and understanding.


Weijie Zhou

University of Nottingham