Dear MCAA members,
It was a great pleasure to meet many of you at our Annual Conference which took place at the Palacio de Congresos in Cordoba on the 24th and 25th of February 2023. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
The conference opened with interventions from several special guests, starting with Themis Christophidou, Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission; followed by Teresa Riesgo Alcaide, Secretary-General of Innovation, Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation; Maria José Polo Gomez, Vice-rector of the scientific policy of the University of Cordoba, and finally Carlos Morais Pires, member of the cabinet of the Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.
In total, 20 sessions were organised with themes ranging from science diplomacy to sustainability, from how to write an ERC proposal to how to balance family and career, without forgetting mental health, researchers’ wellbeing, and scholars at risk. We also hosted as keynote speakers Sir Peter Gluckman and Stefan Kuhlmann who gave inspiring overviews about science diplomacy and sustainability in a theoretical but also practical way.
Sir Peter Gluckman, President of the International Science Council, opened a plenary session that saw the participation of Martin Adler, President of the Initiative for Science in Europe, who presented the Manifesto for Early Career Researchers, co-drafted by the MCAA, joined by several MCAA members who are involved at high-level policy discussions in Europe, namely Renaud Jolivet, ERA Forum Representative for Individual Researchers Stakeholder Group; Karen Stroobants, Vice Chair of the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (COARA); and Mostafa Moonir Shawrav, Co-Chair of the EU Science Diplomacy Alliance, and MCAA Chair Fernanda Bajanca, who co-chairs the EU Science Diplomacy Alliance as well. Finally, we were honoured to host the European Commission MSCA unit led by Claire Morel, and her team members Lucy Swan, Senem Sanal Erginel and Anouk Lafortune as well as Sybille Luhmann who joined online, each of them actively participating as speakers in several sessions. The conference was closed by the interventions of Claire Morel and Jose Luis Quero, General Director of International Projects of the University of Cordoba.
This year, the MCAA Annual Conference was preceded by satellite events hosted on the 23rd of February. Three events took place in parallel: 1) a theatre show about Marie Skłodowska-Curie’s life aimed at the general public, performed by a group of children and their teachers from Tenerife, Spain, combined with interactive experiments from Circonciencia; 2) a EU Science Diplomacy Alliance meeting; and 3) a full-day intensive training workshop on Science Communication promoted by board member Gian Maria Greco and Communications WG chair Ruben Riosa with the support of the European Citizen Science (ECS) project and the University of Cordoba.
We were delighted to offer such a diverse conference, and that is thanks to you! It would not have been possible without the MCAA members, so we want to thank you for your participation, your involvement in submitting, coordinating, speaking at and attending sessions as well as lively engaging with them. Our heartfelt thank you goes to all the volunteers and their non-stop commitment to the organisation of the conference. We also wish to acknowledge the support from our official sponsors: the University of Cordoba, Baden Wuerttemberg International, Venus Roses Labsolutions Ltd., and EuroScienceJobs.
Most of the activities of the conference were supported by the European Commission via the newly funded Coordinated Support Action (CSA) MCAA-New-Horizon Project.
Finally, congratulations to all the MCAA awards winners for their respective work, namely Senol Piskin, for best innovator, Oleksandra Ivashchenko for social impact, Renaud Jolivet for career, and Ruben Riosa for MCAA outstanding contributor. And of course, congratulation to the winners of the best poster awards: Chidera Winifred Amazu, Mengyang Liu and Beatrice Musi; and winners of best Lightening talks: Davide Barone, Shaoshan Mai, Houda Birwa and Dora Keller, plus two honorary mentions: Süreyya Akyüz, and Pablo Emiliano Tomatis.
Now, some numbers, as a hybrid event we registered 275 onsite people and 147 online. During the 20 sessions offered, 73 speakers intervened. 34 posters were also exposed for two days while we had 37 lightning talks. The 20 sessions were recorded and will be hosted on MCAA’s channels soon together with the photo album of the event. Finally, 88 members participated in the General Assembly, which was held on 25 February afternoon.
As you can imagine we are happy to have concluded the first year of our mandate as a Board on such a positive note, and we look forward now to hearing back from you and carrying on working with you all. This year the Board will dedicate its time to strengthen the internal organisation of the Association with the help of several service providers (including Mostafa Moonir Shawrav as the newly appointed executive director).
Soon, you will hear about the call to organise next year's Annual Conference. We look forward to discovering where we will meet next year.
Until then, thanks to all the MCAA members and see you soon!
On behalf of the MCAA Board