Organising a student-led conference and the benefits!

Marta Podgórny, PhD researcher (She/Her) | MSc, AMRSC, MInstP, Organiser of the Open Dialogues across Physics and Astronomy 2023 Conference, School of Physical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), The Open University, Milton Keynes.

The aim of the Open Dialogues across Physics and Astronomy conference was to create a friendly atmosphere and encourage PhD students to start cross-discipline conversations. With physic-related and life-related discussion panels, the unique character of the first edition of this conference back in 2022 made me want to be involved in the organisation of this year’s Open Dialogues conference.

My main motivation was to keep that friendly atmosphere and give students a chance to present their work to a general physics audience. From quantum physics to astronomy and even physics education, everyone was able to find something interesting. Moreover, by giving the audience the possibility to anonymously comment on students’ talks, young researchers were able to improve their presentation skills and prepare for a more stressful, big international conference.

As an organiser of Open Dialogues, I had a chance to meet amazing people and share not only knowledge but also experience. I learned a lot about conference details that normally we don’t pay attention to and also how to organise and delegate work. I believe that this is a valuable experience for every PhD student and a great opportunity to feel fully responsible for a project without being supervised. The feeling of pride and fulfilment after the conference is definitely worth all the work.  Thank you to Cristobel Soares and for all her help and support during the organisation and to GRADnet for funding the event.

For details of both student-led conferences in March 2023 see below: