Academic conferences provide an invaluable forum for disseminating research findings, engaging in scientific discussion, sparking new ideas, and fostering new collaborations.
This year sees many conferences making a welcome return to being held in-person. The online versions held during the height of the pandemic were really important in supporting the ongoing dissemination of research but nothing quite matches being fully immersed in an in-person conference. Our students are excited about attending a range of upcoming conferences. For some, it’s their very first experience. Conferences allow them to gain invaluable experience of presenting their work, explore new research, and network with experts in their field.
In the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Speech and Language Technologies and their Applications, we understand the importance of these experiences. To support this, every student receives a generous training allowance (Research Training Support Grant - RTSG) to cover the costs of attending conferences, workshops, summer schools, etc as well as costs associated with executing their PhD project (e.g., experimental costs, specialist equipment, etc).
Cohort 1 student Meg Thomas participated in last month’s Sheffield Dementia & Alzheimer's Research UK Yorkshire Network Conference 2022. The meeting featured the Sheffield Dementia group, a newly formed, interdisciplinary, cross-faculty group of scientists and clinicians. Meg said,
“Finally, two years into my PhD, I had my first opportunity to attend (and present) at a conference in real life as opposed to online!
The Sheffield Dementia Conference 2022 was a small conference aimed at researchers working on Dementia throughout different faculties in the department, as well as other universities, with researchers from universities such as York and Leeds presenting their work too.
As this was my first time presenting in person, I was incredibly nervous! After an introductory talk from the conference organisers, we had a welcome talk from Dame Pamela Shaw, a professor of neurology at the university whose list of accolades is far too long to mention here. We then heard talks from various early-career researchers before a quick refreshment break, after which it was my time to present! This was a strange experience for me as I was the only person from computer science there, so the work I was presenting was completely different to a lot of the other work being shown. Despite this, the presentation ‘'Speech and the Effects of the Comorbidity of Depression and MCI'’ was well received and people had some insightful questions for me. The rest of the day was spent listening to talks from other researchers and making new connections, including a student from the University of York who will be attending another conference I’ll be attending in July. To round off the event we had a keynote talk from Professor Sir John Hardy, a fellow of the Royal Society famous for his influential work on Alzheimer’s disease, which served as a nice reminder as to why working in this research area is so important.
Attending in-person conferences was definitely one of the aspects of the CDT that I was looking forward to the most, so I was heartbroken when Covid hit and all plans were put on hold. I’m in the planning stages of attending INTERSPEECH in South Korea, and the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in San Diego. Attending these conferences is essential for networking and gaining conference experience!”
Our students will be attending a number of international conferences over the next few months so do look out for them and say hello:
60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) 2022, Dublin, Ireland (22nd - 27th May 2022).
IWSLT 2022: International Conference on Spoken Language Translation Dublin, Ireland (22nd - 27th May 2022 colocated with ACL)
LREC 2022: International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC), Marseille, France (20th - 25th June 2022)
NAACL: 2022 Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics 10th -15th July, 2022 Seattle, Washington
Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022, San Diego, USA (31st July - 4th August 2022)
Interspeech 2022, Incheon, Korea (18th - 22nd September 2022)
COLING 2022 : International Conference on Computational Linguistics Gyeongju, Korea (12th - 17th October 2022)
In addition, we will be hosting our second annual conference (in-person this year) on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 June for which registration is now open. We hope to see you soon!