As early career researchers ourselves, we had a good understanding of what participants hope to gain from attending conferences and therefore tailored this conference to achieve just that. Held at the stunning Cap Riog Hotel in Girona, Spain, FIRM was designed in such a way as to encourage young researchers to get to know each other in a friendly and informal atmosphere, giving them an opportunity to present their work to an international audience. The symposium program was set up with plenty of time during the afternoons for socialising and networking.
After a successful 2013 symposium, we decided to hold the 2nd FIRM Symposium, FIRM 2014. For the second year running, we focused on the “Life Cycle of Cell Therapy”, capturing the topics of Fundamental Biology, Biomaterials, Enabling Technology, Clinical Translation, and Commercialisation. This focus allowed us to demonstrate how these fundamental topics are all interconnected and equally important in translating cell therapies from the laboratory to the clinic. Building on the participant feedback we received from FIRM 2013, we decided to incorporate additional interactive workshops focusing on: imaging modalities, commercialisation and communication skills. In conjunction with the communication skills workshop, we also recorded every students’ oral presentation to provide each speaker with a tool for reflection and improvement.
FIRM 2014 hosted eight world renowned international keynote speakers supported by 28 student oral presentations and 20 poster presentations. We are delighted to confirm that FIRM has now begun to build up a large network of early career researchers over the last two yeas, with collaborative work still ongoing from last years’ symposium, and new projects on the horizon.
We were amazed to see that over the last two years FIRM has attracted over 200 young researchers from over 60 research institutions across more than 20 countries. This has only been possible by the support from our mentors, our sponsors and of course our delegates.
The FIRM 2014 committee would like to thank all of the participants for creating such a vibrant and interactive atmosphere throughout the entire symposium. Without the sponsor’s generosity this symposium would not have been possible, so thank you! very much.