Through my membership of BSSS, I applied for the Early Career Conference Grant to enable me to attend and deliver an oral presentation at EuroSoil 2021. The conference was moved to an online platform and the ECR Conference Grant enabled me to meet the registration fee.
EuroSoil 2021 was the official international congress of the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies. The event brought together research scientists and stakeholders in sessions that were organised to reflect the themes of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This novel approach to the conference session structure resulted in a large variety of presentations and diverse discussion, covering a wide range of topics from urban soil policy through to modelling degraded soil recovery at ecosystem scale. I gave an oral presentation on my PhD research Quantifying and alleviating subsoil compaction in arable soils to the session Targeting land degradation neutrality! Degradation, restoration and conservation of soil functions in a changing global environment.
EuroSoil is a key international conference in the soil science community and having my abstract selected for an oral presentation was a privilege. Presenting the PhD research gave me the opportunity to discuss the methodologies and results of the work with an international audience of soil scientists and stakeholders. I was able to develop my visual and oral data presentation skills, and the Q&A session that followed required me to discuss and defend the results. This was valuable as core skills development for future work in applied soil science, the critical discussion helped to develop revisions for the journal publication process, and the discussion and defence acted as excellent preparation for my PhD viva.
Throughout the conference, I attended numerous sessions outside of that in which I presented. These sessions afforded me the opportunity to learn about the latest research within different soil science disciplines, to hear from and interact with those keynote speakers who are at the forefront of leading soil science research and to develop my questioning skills during the Q&A sessions.
The personal interaction was limited by the online platform in comparison to an in-person event. Despite this, I feel I was still able to network with other researchers, gaining contacts and experience. In particular, it was brilliant to hear presentations from those research scientists that have specifically led the field of subsoil compaction research and have the opportunity to find out about their latest work, much of which has not yet been published.
Attending and giving an oral presentation at EuroSoil 2021 provided me with a hugely valuable opportunity to present my PhD research to an international conference, interact with the soil science community (in particular those that lead the field of subsoil compaction research), and to develop some of the core skills I require as a researcher.
I would like to thank the British Society of Soil Science for supporting my registration that enabled me to attend this event as part of the Early Career Conference Grant.