Between 2003 and 2019 (Round 1), CASS has awarded 772 Travel Awards totalling $2,557,778 to support post-doctoral, early career researchers to attend international conferences, where they may present their current research findings and meet overseas colleagues.
Here are some reports from recent CASS Travel Grant recipients:
Dr Melita Joy Giummarra, Senior Research Fellow, Monash University, attended the 17th World Congress on Pain in Boston USA, which attracted more than 5,000 delegates from 96 countries. She also participated in a pre-conference Symposium on the Ethical and Legal Issues in Pain Special Interest Group (ELIP-SIG).
“My participation in this conference far exceeded my expectations, and has already led to several benefits, from dissemination of my research, enhancing my communication skills, establishing myself as an international expert, and recognition of my emerging leadership in this field…
“Attending any conference in North America is very expensive for Australians. Having support from this prestigious award enabled me to participate at the highest level, and to enhance my research career through high level networking and research leadership.”
Dr Jeffrey Mak, Division of Chemistry and Structural Biology Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, attended the 22nd International Conference for Organic Synthesis 2018 (ICOS-22) in Florence, Italy.
"I believe CASS’s Travel Award program helps promote Australian science, which ultimately benefits Australian scientists generally. Based on my interactions throughout the conference, I believe that if more Australians were given the opportunity to present at international conferences, we can show that Australians do produce world-class research despite our distance from North America and Europe."
In September 2018, Dr Adnan Younis of the School of Material Science & Engineering at UNSW attended the 2018 E-MSR Fall Meeting Conference at Warsaw Institute of Technology, Poland.
“The opportunity provided by the CASS Foundation to witness the enthusiasm of global leaders in the field of materials science together with their willingness to share their personal stories of their lives in science, has left me feeling empowered and confident to follow my research interests with conviction.”
Dr Srujana Sahebjada from the Centre for Eye Research, University of Melbourne:
“CASS Travel Award provided me an opportunity to travel to India and present a talk at the prestigious 25th anniversary of Indian Eye Research Group Conference affiliated with the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology International Chapter (IERG ARVO IC).”
Dr Sahebjada’s participation at the conference facilitated existing collaborations with major Indian Eye hospitals and the expansion of the Keratoconus International Consortium (KIC) to identify clinical, genetic as well as other risk factors that contribute to keratoconus disease progression, and those individuals at early risk of disease.
Dr Joanna Achinger-Kawecka from the Epigenetics Research Lab at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, attended the Gordon Chromatin Structure and Function meeting in Newry, Massachusetts in USA.
“This opportunity provided me with a unique chance to discuss my new research findings in three-dimensional chromatin organization changes in breast cancer with leading scientists in my field from all over the world … as well as gather interest from journal editors attending the meeting.”
Dr Manuela Jörg, Research Fellow at Monash University participated at the 25th EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry, as well as the 5th EFMC Young Medicinal Chemist Symposium, which were both held in Ljubljana in September 2018
“Presenting my work at the...International Symposium allowed me to promote our research excellence in medicinal chemistry at Monash University and Australia on an international stage. The posters session was particularly well set up and it allowed me to network with some of the leaders in my field, as well as members of their groups.”
Dr. Hyungtaek JUNG from the Centre for Tropical Crops & Biocommodities at Queensland University of Technology, presented two key aspects of his current research at the 2018 International Plant Molecular Biology (IPMB) conference in Montpellier, France; where over 1,200 submitted abstracts were presented by researchers from around the world to demonstrate the importance of developing multidisciplinary approaches to combat climate changes and global population increases.
“By attending the conference, I was fortunate enough to have a unique opportunity to learn the latest research developments, tools and techniques from experts in my field of research (Plant Genomics and Molecular Breeding). My research became part of the global plant research community network… Several discussions following my presentations at IPMB have already developed into potential exciting new collaborations.”
Dr Isabel Lopez Sanchez, Research Fellow, Centre for Eye Research, Melbourne attended the Mitochondrial Biology and Selective Autophagy Conference in Kyoto, Japan, in April 2018.
“ This conference is a prestigious scientific gathering that takes place only every two years, and provides a high-quality, international forum for communication, interaction and collaboration for over 500 scientists with a focus on mitochondrial and autophagy research. This is a highly specialised field with relatively few international meetings, and therefore it was a unique opportunity to learn the latest research developments, tools and techniques from other experts in my area of research… Thanks to this award, I was able to share some of the techniques optimised in our laboratory and exchange protocols for my current research.”
Dr Xiaoshan Lin, Department of Civil & Infrastructure Engineering at RMIT University, attended the 2018 Composite Materials Congress (CMC) in Stockholm Sweden, organized by the International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM), in June 2018.
“The conference had brought together academic and industrial people from many different countries, including Sweden, Australia, China, US, UK, Japan, South Korea, France, Italy, Germany, and so on. It was my honour to be invited by the conference committee to give a talk at the conference on the topic ‘Numerical modelling of ultra-high-performance fibre reinforced concrete panels under intense impact’.
…. “I really appreciate the feedback that I received from other researchers, which was not only encouraging, but also beneficial to the improvement of my current research. In addition, by listening to presentations given by other researchers, I have learnt a lot of cutting-edge research work in the area of composite materials in the world, which has broadened my mind and inspired me with new ideas.”
Dr Allison Pearson from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at the Plant Research Centre, South Australia was assisted to attend the 2018 Gordon Research Conference, ‘Salt and Water Stress in Plants’, in June 2018, at the picturesque ski resort of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, USA.
“The conference on ‘Salt and Water Stress in Plants’ consists of about 200 scientists from around the world who specialise in the research of salinity and water stress of many types of agricultural crops including wheat, barley, maize and rice …. This conference gave me the chance to meet new people from around the world, many of whom I will remain in contact, and with whom we may be able to have future collaborations.”
Dr Sarah Boyle, an early-career post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology and the University of South Australia, attended the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and associated seminar (GRS) for Mammary Gland Biology and Breast Cancer in Lucca, Italy.
“The GRS, ‘Branching Out: Exploring the Cellular Processes Driving Mammary Gland Development and Disease’, was held for two days pre-conference and was an interactive forum for post-graduate students and early career researchers to present their work, receive feedback from their peers, and make new connections with researchers at a similar stage of career. My abstract was selected for an oral presentation for the GRS and I was pleased with the discussion that my work generated and welcomed the feedback. There was also a mentoring component to the seminar, offering tools and advice for up-and-coming scientists. The GRS was therefore highly beneficial for me as it allowed me to present my exciting findings, but also meet the next generation of my peers in this field … and gain knowledge and relationships instrumental to my future career prospects and research aspirations."
Dr. David Scott, Senior Research Fellow at Monash Health, Monash University attended the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (WCOIOF-ESCEO) in Krakow, Poland, in April, 2018.
“This conference registered around 3,900 delegates and presented over 1,200 submitted abstracts from researchers around the world. I found the quality of the scientific program to be excellent and learned of many exciting new research developments including novel exercise programs for muscle and bone during ageing, as well as state-of-the-art musculoskeletal imaging techniques. Furthermore, there were a number of networking opportunities with outstanding international leaders in the field of musculoskeletal health.
“My participation in the conference included a 15-minute oral presentation as part of a 1-hour non-sponsored symposium, and also a poster presentation.…Several discussions following this talk have already developed into potentially exciting new collaborations.”
In April 2018, Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa, from La Trobe University Institute for Molecular Science presented her work at the prestigious American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego, California.
“This is an annual multidisciplinary scientific meeting that features plenary and award lectures, workshops, oral and posters sessions and on-site career services. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend the career development event held by the ASBMB the day before the conference kicked off…(and) attending the Experimental Biology Meeting was a truly rewarding and inspiring experience. New ideas were generated from lectures and presentations, in addition to the useful advice and feedback given during poster and oral discussions. It was particularly rewarding to learn that the research I am pursuing in Australia is world class and I was reassured that I am definitely following the right career path.”
Dr Zoe Smith, early career researcher in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University, attended the ‘Spring SciX’ in Glasgow, Scotland in April 2018.
“SciX is a meeting held under the auspices of FACSS (the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies) which covers a wide range of topics related to analytical science. ...The organisers chose to have a focus on early career researchers for the majority of the program, with more experienced researchers giving a number of general talks and workshops throughout. I found this to be an excellent opportunity to meet peers at a similar career stage, whilst also getting up-to-date on current advances in analytical chemistry.”
Dr Bhumika Shah, Department of Molecular Sciences, Macquarie University attended the 2018 Marine Microbes Gordon research conference held in conjunction with a 2-day pre-conference Gordon research seminar (GRS) organised for ECRs in the Italian town of Lucca:
"... the conference was very high quality and an indispensable way of pushing my science to an international level. The trip proved critical for setting up new collaborations, new connections and new projects."