Yesterday we had a conference paper accepted by the EUPHA (European Public Health Association) International Conference. When the paper was originally submitted to the EUPHA Health Workforce Research Section Mid-term Conference we had opted for an oral presentation in person at the conference in Romania this summer. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic travelling to Romania to attend this conference is not an option for many (if not most) academics. Therefore the organising committee took the initiative to re-arrange it as a virtual meeting. Further good news for us is that participation will be free.
Of course, I am aware that some of the strengths of attending conferences include having unexpected discussions (often in the bar) with fellow academics and being away from the day job. At the moment being forced to choose between postponing or cancelling a conference or changing to a virtual meeting conference organisers may want to reflect on “… ask how conferences make a difference.” This question was originally raised in the book Academic Conferences as Neoliberal Commodities by Donald Nicholson .
We should have moved to more virtual meetings and online conferences much sooner, but it is easy to say with hindsight! The COVID-19 crisis has thought us that virtual classrooms, internet-based tutorials, Zoom meetings and online conferences can work, albeit with their limitations. It is worth considering the return of investment of a conference  not just for the conference organisers (and funders) but also individual academics as less travel will be saving time and society as reducing travel, especially international flights, will improve our carbon foot print.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)
- Nicholson. D.J. (2017) Academic Conferences as Neoliberal Commodities, Palgrave Macmillan.
- Nicholson. D.J. (2018) Guest post by Donald Nicolson: The problem of thinking about conferences and Return on Investment (ROI)
Yesterday Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen from CMMPH (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health) gave a presentation on ‘Social and Medical Model of Childbirth’ at the International Conference 2019 with the specific title ‘Sociology of Nepal: State Restructuring, Good Governance & People’s Participation’. This international conference was organised by NSA (Nepal Sociological Association) in Kathmandu.
Prof. van Teijlingen outlined the notion of the social-medical model [1-5] and linked it to recent developments in Nepal, including the introduction of midwifery education (i.e. midwifery separately from nursing) something tat has been advocated for a long time  and the rising Caesarean Section rate in Nepal, especially in hospitals in the capital .
- van Teijlingen, E. (2017) The medical and social model of childbirth, Kontakt 19 (2): e73-e74
- MacKenzie Bryers H., van Teijlingen, E. (2010) Risk, Theory, Social & Medical Models: critical analysis of the concept of risk in maternity care, Midwifery 26(5): 488-496.
- Ireland, J., van Teijlingen, E. (2013) Normal birth: social-medical model, Practising Midwife 16 (11): 17-20.
- van Teijlingen E. (2005) A critical analysis of the medical model as used in the study of pregnancy and childbirth, Sociol Res Online, 10 (2) Web address: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/10/2/teijlingen.html
- Nieuwenhuijze, M., van Teijlingen, E., MacKenzie Bryers, H. (2019) Denken in risico’s: niet zonder risico?! (in Dutch: Thinking in terms of risk is not without its risks), Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Verloskundigen (in Dutch: Journal for Midwives), (forthcoming)
- Bogren, M.U., Bajracharya, K., Berg, M., Erlandsson, K., Ireland, J., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2013) Nepal needs midwifery, Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (JMMIHS) 1(2): 41-44. www.nepjol.info/index.php/JMMIHS/article/view/9907/8082
- Dhakal-Rai, S., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Wood, J., Dangal, G., Dhakal, K.B. (2018) Rising Rate of Caesarean Section in Urban Nepal, Journal of Nepal Health Research Council 16(41): 479-80.
Jing WANG, a PhD student in the department of Creative Technology, SciTech, just got a paper accepted by 26th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAi 2017). IJCAi (http://ijcai-17.org/), is a premier AI conference in the world. Jing’s paper, co-authored with Feng Tian (SciTech), Hongchuan Yu (FMC) and Changhong Liu (SciTech), “Multi-Component Nonnegative Matrix Factorization”, is one of the papers accepted, out of 2540 submissions, after going through an extremely selective review (acceptance rate: ~25%).
Congratulations to Jing, who is currently a 3rd year PhD student. Apart from this paper, she has also published several papers in the journals like IEEE Trans. on Cybernetics, Journal of Visual Communication and Image Representation, etc. and the top conferences like IJCNN, ICONIP, etc.
I am in the early throws of writing a paper on the promotional activity of HE’s during this year’s clearing period. My likely approach is to analyse the advertising that took place on University home pages and in the press (all raw data has been captured) taking a perspective in terms of ‘responsible communications’ a theme for next year’s corporate and marketing communications conference. Anybody interested in informal chat or even co-writing something – drop me a line or two.