The fifth edition of the annual Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS)-Bangalore will be held at the J N Tata Auditorium, Indian Institute of Science, from 25th to 28th September, 2014. This vibrant conference brings together enthusiastic young conservation researchers from Asia and Africa and provides them a unique platform to showcase their research through talks and posters, to network and connect with peers and senior researchers, and to engage with conservation organizations.
“This year we have included more exciting, new and fun elements to the conference, most of which are technology driven” said V V Robin, one of the five members of the organizing committee. Efforts are on to use technology in many innovative ways to enhance the participants’ experience and reach and interact with a wider audience. Upon registration, researchers provide their field site locations, which are integrated into an online map. A responsive live mobile site will allow registered participants easy access to the schedule, abstracts and workshops. The mobile site also hosts a feedback system, which will allow participants to provide instant feedback about the talks and the workshops they attend. Attendees can also blog about their experiences at the conference on the SCCS-Bangalore website. SMS alerts will be used to issue reminders about workshop venues and times to participants.
All registered participants are assigned a unique QR code, which will be displayed on their conference badges. A mobile app to scan the QR code using cellphones was proposed by student volunteers and designed by Jaideep Joshi, a graduate student at the Centre for Ecological Studies in IISc, Bangalore. This will enable organizers to scan the codes to collect ID details at workshops and in food queues, making administration paperless. In the pipeline are plans to allow participants to scan other people’s QR codes and access their abstract pages and information for instant networking. If users are logged into the SCCS site when they scan a QR code, the information shows up on their account page, allowing them to potentially collate information about all the talks and posters they find interesting at the conference.
A live twitter feed (#sccsbng2014) will keep those who are not present at the conference in the loop. The evening plenaries, which cover popular conservation topics, are open to the public for attendance. In addition, IndiaBioScience plans live streaming of all plenary talks at www.sccs-bng.org/watch.
The first international sister conference to the long-running SCCS-Cambridge, SCCS-Bangalore currently distinguishes itself by being the only one to have attendees who may not present talks or posters. It also offers the largest number of workshops by far. Organizer Jahnavi Joshi feels the diversity of workshops adds a lot of value to the conference. The mix of natural and social sciences—at presentations, talks and workshops—is also unique to the Bangalore chapter and reflects the local research ethos.
A short film by Kalyan Varma and Prasenjeet Yadav will capture the buzz and energy that permeates this young and exciting meeting. SCCS promises to show the way forward for conferences to be more engaging and current, and up their cool quotient.