NRN-LCEE Cluster Fellows and students attend international conferences

Recently, Cleaner Cows Fellow Alejandra González-Mejía (Bangor University) and PhD student Rebekah Weatherhead (AquaWales, Aberystwyth University) were awarded a bursary to present their work at international conferences.  Here, they recount how they have benefitted from the experience:

Alejandra attended the 23rd annual conference of The International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS), June 14-17 in Bogotá, Colombia. She recounts:

“The ISDRS provided a great setting to present my research as part of the Cleaner Cows project and interact with potential collaborators from academia, governments, businesses and communities. I gave an oral presentation entitled: Trends in UK dairy farms from 2001 to 2014: Evidence of sustainable intensification? There were several interesting sessions related to my research, including: Sustainable land use policy and planning; food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture; innovation for sustainable development and transitions to sustainability; sustainable value chains and trade; climate change mitigation and adaptation; circular economy; industrial ecology; sustainability assessment and indicators.

At the conference, I met Diana Valencia and Dr. Adrian Bailey (University of Exeter), who work on the adoption of best practice standards by dairy farms in Colombia and would be interested in collaborating. Other potential collaborators that I met worked in business administration and sustainable development.

One of the most fascinating topics addressed at the conference related to the history of Colombia in the context of violence, natural resources, the 17 sustainable development goals and post-conflict. The conference was opened by the Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, current President of Colombia and sole recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, and included keynote addresses by Rafael Pardo, Senior Advisor for Post-Conflict, and Brigitte Baptiste General, Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Resources in Colombia."

At the end of the conference, I participated in a tour of the territory of the half-moon of the south. We visited several localities and learnt about sustainable agricultural and conservation practices and challenges for the local communities. We were also able to appreciat the splendour of a páramo ecosystem.”


Rebekah with her posterRebekah with her posterAquaWales PhD student Rebekah Weatherhead (Aberystwyth University) presented a poster at the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles, July 307 in Exeter. The theme of the symposium was Understanding Fish Populations and Rebekah presented her poster ‘Challenges in aquaculture: the influence of water temperature on juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) immune function when challenged with Saprolegnia parasitica’ under the theme of Valuing and Managing Fish Populations.

“The conference provided a great opportunity to network, with delegates ranging from early career scientists to well-established academics. As well as providing a platform on which research outcomes and ideas could be shared and discussed, the conference also had many sessions aimed at assisting early career researchers. These included routes to publishing and coping with the commonly encountered ‘imposter syndrome’.

Attending the conference was of great benefit, not only to discuss and gain feedback on my own research, but also to learn about the wider body of research within fisheries and aquaculture science. Presentations covered fisheries issues from the UK as well as those as far afield as Australia, exploring the threats facing tropical coral reefs. Group discussions also highlighted key areas for future research and moving fisheries and aquaculture science forward. I had the opportunity to be involved in a summary publication (in press) based on these discussions.”

The FSBI generously provided an additional bursary to enable Rebekah to attend.

Attendees of the 50th Symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles, July 2017 in ExeterAttendees of the 50th Symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles, July 2017 in Exeter

Publication date: 10 September 2017