The support of the Viennese Local Organizing Committee and the EERA office was central to the success of the ECER 2009 Pre-Conference which involved more than 200 participants.
This year, the Pre-Conference had:
- 2 invited lectures
- 3 parallel workshops on writing and publishing
- 44 parallel sessions
- 11 posters
- 1 inside EERA session with the Interim WERA President and Secretary-general
We have received 45 Return Slips (from a possible 48, which included the invited lectures and the parallel workshops) meaning that 93.7% of our sessions have been assessed. Last year we only received 68% of the return slips, so we would like to thank the LOC for informing their student helpers about this instrument and providing them with all materials. We will encourage the Helsinki LOC to adopt the same procedure.
This year we received a considerable number of complaints concerning ‘no shows’ at the pre-conference. With reference to Graphic 1, we can see that in 34% of the parallel sessions one of the presenters did not turn up and in 5% two presenters were not present. This means that only 61% of the sessions were conducted as planned in the program.
For 2009 a list of "no-show" delegates was prepared. We intend to monitor their future engagement with the pre-conference.
2. Quality and Relevance
This item addressed the Mentors’ overall opinion of the session, as well as their thoughts on the relevance of the session for the Postgraduate Network.
2.1 Overall opinion of mentor on the session
Mentors can rate a session ranging from poor to excellent. Graphic 2 shows that in over the half of the sessions (57%) mentors considered the presentations to be very good and in 27% of cases the sessions were described as excellent. As such, more than three quarters of the sessions were rated as high quality.
2.2 Relevance of the session for the network
Although some mentors did not feel able to make a statement about the relevance of their session for the network, 97% of the sessions were considered to be relevant or very relevant to the network.
3. Handout and equipment
All presenters gave a handout in almost 70% of the sessions and two gave a handout in 17% of sessions. As a consequence, only a small percentage of sessions failed to offer adequate hand-outs.
4. Size of the audiences
Almost half of the parallel sessions were attended by between 11 and 20 people and that 21% had up to 30 attendees. Approximately one quarter had fewer than 11 audience members.
Some mentors highlighted problems with the laptops in the rooms as they were equipped with Open Office and not all could read power point presentations. However, they also reported that this problem was, in every instance, overcome by the use of the participants’ laptop.
Linguistic and timing problems were not mentioned this year. In fact, some mentors made a specific comment on the clarity of the presentations, the enthusiasm of the presenters and the quality of the research presented.
The PGN business meeting attracted approximately 40 delegates who generated a number of innovative ideas for development of the PGN.
- The introduction of interactive poster sessions.
- A Best Poster Award to complement the Best Paper Award.
- The introduction of a ‘deposit’ at registration which, in the event of ‘no-shows’ would be diverted to the Scholarship fund.
- Methodology Panel.
- Network workshops / collaborative writing sessions.
- More innovative use of the web-site as a virtual research space.
- Revision of the network name.
- The development of themed ‘research nurture groups’ (with a more experienced mentor) to construct articles with a cross-European focus.