On the 8th and 9th of September the University of Southampton played host to the NRG BESS Early Career Researcher Conference on Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Sustainability. This event was just one of a number of initiatives conceived and organised by NRG BESS – a network made up of early career researchers contributing to interdisciplinary research focussing on biodiversity and ecosystem services. We are a dynamic part of the NERC research programme BESS: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability. The NRG in our name stands for Next Research Generation.
This was the first conference of its kind, and provided a great opportunity for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in these fields to come together to network and share their ideas. It was organised by two PLUS members – Sarah Pogue and Md Sarwar Hossain, with the support of NRG BESS and sponsorship from BESS, Geography and Environment at UoS and Sustainability Science at Southampton.
Quite a few months of planning and organising went into putting on the conference – this involved not only myself and Sarwar but also several other members of NRG BESS – but it was all worth it in the end as it was a big success with close to 60 postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers from all over the UK as well as Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil and Bangladesh!
There was plenty of opportunity to hear about exciting research from the twenty-four ECRs who gave talks and the twenty who presented posters, as well as our three keynote speakers Prof Georgina Mace (UCL), Prof Katrina Brown (University of Exeter) and Dr Sandra Nogué (University of Oxford). The entire event was filmed and we hope to have footage of all of the presentations available soon. In the meantime, you can click here to see a Storify of our live tweets during the event.
To get the most out of the two days, we also had a breakout session entitled “Future Directions” – this involved all of the conference participants and highlighted the essential questions in the fields of biodiversity, ecosystem services and sustainability research that the next research generation thinks science and society must tackle.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and so we hope that this is just the beginning and that next year will see an even bigger and better NRG BESS Conference 2015!
Photo credits: © Joanna Kuleszo (top); © Laura Harrison (bottom left and bottom right); © Victoria Wickens (bottom centre)