“What a great scientific and social event!”

At the end of August I had the opportunity to participate to the 12th EOU congress in Cluj, Romania, supported by a BOU member travel award.

This was my third EOU conference and I have to say that I particularly enjoyed this one because, for the first time, I felt I was getting better at networking with other researchers and discussing my research with people I didn’t know well. This was also the first time I was presenting my work as an oral presentation at a EOU conference, and not just as a poster. Even if I might hide it well enough, I am a very shy person and these are all nice personal achievements for me!

One of the conference venues

I found the scientific program overall very interesting and stimulating. I particularly enjoyed the plenary on small pelagic birds by Petra Quillfeldt as all these amazing marine birds fascinate me. With five different sessions or symposia running at the same time, I wished (as usual) I could split myself and follow all the different presentations… or at least all the topics I was interested in, unfortunately I know I missed some great talks.

It was a great experience to present my work in the symposium “The effects of weather on birds” organized by Mark Mainwaring and Andreas Nord. I presented my latest results on how weather can affect the food storing behaviour of Pygmy Owls in autumn and winter and I received some positive feedback. The symposium had some very interesting talks and I particularly liked Tom Martin’s presentation on “Rain and drought effects on demography of temperate and tropical songbirds”. Talking with him afterwards about his research and my own research was a great pleasure. I was also really pleased to have lunch with the symposium organisers and some of the speakers and continue discussing the symposium topics and ideas. I hope to meet them again at future conferences.

Giulia presenting her work on weather and food storing in Pygmy Owls.

As the previous EOU conferences, this one was, for me, the perfect balance between a scientific meeting and social event. The EOU2019 organisers really understood the need for people to chat in a relaxed environment to spread their science and to create new collaborations. I particularly appreciated the attention given to the “fledglings” both with a dedicated event and overall throughout the conference. It was inspiring to hear from more experienced researchers that there are many different career paths to follow after graduation, and somehow it is possible to manage both life and research! As an early career researcher myself, I find these kind of events very useful to meet new researchers and connect with other people. If I have to find a problem on the social side, it’s only that the conference dinner was not on the last day… it made it very difficult to follow the morning talks and I don’t envy the people that had to talk on the last day!

I managed to get all my supervisors in one picture! From left, my PhD supervisor (one of them at least!) Toni Laaksonen (University of Turku), my master supervisor Dan Chamberlain (University of Torino) and my bachelor supervisor Enrico Caprio (University of Torino) bachelor . . . What a unique opportunity!

My PhD studies are now coming to an end, and before this conference I was a little bit scared about this and about the uncertainty of the future after my defence. Now I see that it will be difficult, but there are plenty of possibilities to continue doing what I love. I even managed to start talking about possible ideas for postdoc projects and future collaborations. I returned to work energised and inspired by a great conference!

I really enjoyed and loved this conference and I’m looking forward to the next one in Gießen, Germany! Hope to see you all there in two years’ time!!

The excursion in the Turda Gorge

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