6 reasons to attend Drug Discovery 2022… especially if you are an early career professional

Posted: 27 September 2022 | | No comments yet

Europe’s largest meeting for life sciences professionals is just around the corner – be a part of it. This year, Drug Discovery 2022 is coming to the ever-buzzing ExCel centre in London from 4-5 October and will focus on ‘driving the next life sciences revolution’ as we build new momentum in this post-pandemic era.

ELRIG drug discovery - scientists in lab

The flagship annual Drug Discovery meeting — renowned for its networking opportunities and high calibre scientific programme — is now open for registration. Sign up here – it is free to attend!

In the 16th year of hosting the conference, ELRIG is proud to provide you – early career professionals – an accessible platform to build your knowledge and skills and a friendly space to make lifelong connections.

Whether you have already signed up (in which case, ELRIG cannot wait to welcome you!) or are still undecided about attending, we wanted to give you six reasons to join us at Drug Discovery 2022. (Reason 4 is our personal favourite.)

1. Stay up to date on the latest in life sciences research – without feeling overwhelmed

Keeping up with the latest in research on various topics in drug discovery – all while progressing your own projects – can seem rather overwhelming for most of us. That is why, each year, the conference directors take one for the team and make it easy to stay informed and updated. Over the last few months, they have curated hot and emerging topics in life sciences and have lined up expert speakers from both academia and industry to deliver fascinating talks.

At Drug Discovery 2022, there are eight different topic tracks for you to choose from:

  1. Overcoming Challenges and New Directions in Medicinal Chemistry
  2. High Content Imaging in Drug Discovery
  3. Cell & Gene Therapy
  4. Drug Discovery and Development in COPD (partnership with British Pharmacological Society)
  5. Innovation through Partnership
  6. Frontiers of Chemistry applied to Drug Discovery (Partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry)
  7. Developments in Pre-clinical Models
  8. Advancements in Screening and Automation (partnership with Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

Grab a front-row seat and a notepad to dive deeper into your chosen niche or lean into your curiosity to explore a new area that interests you – it is totally your pick. If you are a planner, you can download the ELRIG app to view the agenda and shortlist the talks you want to attend in advance.

2. Learn about new tools and technologies… and even see them in action

Flipping through a brochure is never as satisfying as seeing the instrument displayed in front of your eyes. With 120 exhibitors and technology providers on the conference floor, you can now check out the most recent versions of microscopes, liquid handlers, assay kits and much more. You will also be able to ask your troubleshooting questions to the company representative directly – rather than being placed on hold on the customer support line. While you are there, feel free to request demos so you can ‘test drive’ these technologies for your desired application.

Bonus reason: “You might end up having fun!”

Confessions of a first-time Drug Discovery attendee

Eve Stalker

Eve Stalker is currently a first-year PhD student at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge. She shares her thoughts on why early career professionals and students should be attending our flagship Drug Discovery event.

Eve Stalker, a first-year PhD student at the University of Cambridge, descries her first experience attending Drug Discovery. She shares how the warmth and friendliness of Drug Discovery made her feel comfortable despite the all-too-familiar feeling of ‘will I fit in?’ when stepping into a large-scale, busy conference as a newbie.

How did you hear about the Drug Discovery conference?

Eve: I was introduced to ELRIG during my placement year with AstraZeneca when colleagues recommended that I attend the Drug Discovery conference. Initially, I was unsure as an undergraduate student who has only recently joined a pharmaceutical company (and who was still very much finding her footing). But as a free-to-attend event, it was easily accessible to a student like myself, so I registered.

As an early career scientist, how was your first Drug Discovery experience?

Eve: The conference had a relaxed and welcoming feel which instantly put me at ease and helped me to make the most of my experience. Everyone I came across was willing to stop and chat with me which really helped me to get the most out of the conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the broad range of talks, activities and workshops available at the conference.

In addition to learning about new and interesting scientific developments, I greatly broadened my professional network and connected with people I would not usually have crossed paths with. I attended an interactive early career professional workshop session, which allowed me to meet with peers at similar stages in their careers whilst also learning valuable networking skills.

Having had such a positive experience with my first taste of ELRIG, I was thrilled to see another ELRIG event within my specialist PhD field. I attended the CRISPR ELRIG conference in March 2022 as my first conference as a PhD student. I really enjoyed the conference and once again, found it was a very welcoming experience as an early career scientist. It was great to see presentations from a wide range of delegates from both academia and industry, and be offered plenty of opportunities to ask lots of questions.

In your opinion, what is unique about ELRIG and Drug Discovery?

Eve: As my PhD is sponsored by industry, the mixture of talks was nice to see and helped me to consider how the two can best blend and complement each other in my own project. The networking aspect of the conference was such a valuable experience. I appreciated the opportunity to chat informally about my project and gain valuable feedback and suggestions whilst my project was still in its early stages.

During the conference, the ELRIG team highlighted an upcoming ELRIG diversity and inclusion seminar which I subsequently attended and enjoyed. I learned a lot from the seminar which I hope to bring to the EDI committee that I am part of at my university.

What would you say to someone who is still undecided about attending Drug Discovery this year?

Eve: I am already looking forward to it and would thoroughly recommend that anyone interested but still undecided give it a try. You have nothing to lose, particularly early on in your career and you might end up having fun!

3. Attend a face-to-face poster session (finally!) after two years of saying “you’re on mute”

Walk through the all-day poster session at Drug Discovery 2022 to browse posters and read about the methods, techniques and hypotheses your peers are working on. Ask questions, have face-to-face discussions and start new collaborations, one poster at a time.

This year, ELRIG will award two poster prizes at Drug Discovery 2022 – Best Overall Poster and Best ECP Poster – with each winner receiving £250 to use as they wish. As always, winners are celebrated on ELRIG’s social media channels to further raise their profiles. This could very well be you!

4. Network with industry professionals who genuinely want to help

We all know that having a strong network can help propel careers, open new opportunities and even offer multiple career options. However, the very act of networking as an early career professional brings its own set of challenges – it is often difficult to enter the already-established ‘circle’ of industry pals or requires hours of small talk without being able to leave a conversation – but not at ELRIG.

The ELRIG team ensures that your networking experience remains pleasant and fruitful with its ‘Network like a Boss’ session – which is essentially a ‘speed dating’ experience with mentor-minded industry professionals who genuinely want to help.

Regardless of your career stage or path, you have the chance to meet an expert and engage in meaningful conversations. When your meeting time is up, you move on to another expert. This means tons of networking opportunities without forced small talk or awkward silences. In this safe, welcoming environment specially designed with you in mind, networking will seem like a breeze.

5. Become a part of this big scientific family – even if you are early in your career

ELRIG firmly believes that every single member of this scientific community – from established experts to first-year students – brings unique strengths and talents to advance the field. That is why everyone is welcome at Drug Discovery – and is made to feel at home right from the start.

In particular, ELRIG values early career professionals, such as yourself, for their fresh perspectives, new ideas and dedication to research. One such token of appreciation at ELRIG is the annual Early Career Professional Impact Award.

Recognising and celebrating early career contributions that have made a clear impact on the wider scientific community

Shaun Pennington

This year, Dr Shaun Pennington won the Early Career Professional Impact Award for his efforts in developing various screening platforms to better understand and target SARS-CoV-2. Dr Pennington is an immunologist/microbiologist working in drug discovery at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Attend Dr Pennington’s 20-minute presentation at Drug Discovery 2022.

During the two days of presentations, workshops, poster sessions and networking at Drug Discovery, you will quickly evolve into feeling like you are a part of this big, global scientific family and will be well on your way to positively shaping your future.

Thought-provoking talks and career-boosting connections wait for you on the other side

Join us and 2,000 other industry professionals at Drug Discovery 2022 on 4 and 5 October at ExCel London. Sign up today for free by clicking here.

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