Tagged / conference paper

COVID-19 and the rise of Virtual Conferences

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 [1].

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 [2] 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)



  1. Nicholson. D.J. (2017) Academic Conferences as Neoliberal CommoditiesPalgrave Macmillan.
  2. Nicholson. D.J. (2018) Guest post by Donald Nicolson: The problem of thinking about conferences and Return on Investment (ROI) 


PhD student from Creative Technology got a paper accepted in a premium conference

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.

Clearing and all that

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.