I have an ongoing poll on people’s impressions of the big annual stem cell meeting, ISSCR 2012.
I myself have been wishing I was in Japan for that meeting so I remain surprised at the trending of the poll toward the negative.
By far the most common response has been a surprisingly ho-hum “so-so” evaluation of the meeting.
I’ve been nudging people who went to give me more specific feedback and especially to tell me what they’d look for in the 2013 ISSCR meeting in Boston.
Here’s their wish list:
1) More unpublished data. The largest complaint I’ve heard by far and also something I heard in 2011 was that too many talks were simply rehashes of published papers. In other words, the presenters were playing it safe. Too safe.
This seems to be a larger trend in scientific meetings and may not be specific to ISSCR. People are afraid of others taking advantage of them presenting unpublished data…..but without it, meetings lose their interest and excitement.
2) A larger variety of speakers including totally new speakers. Second top wish seemed directly linked to the complaint that every year many of the same bigwigs in the stem cell field speak at ISSCR and their talks seem, well frankly, kind of stale. This might summed up as a wish for “new blood” amongst the speakers. Yes, ISSCR has selected talks from abstracts and others from newer investigators, but the people talking to me want plenary and invited speakers to be more diverse and include every year a lot of people who did not speak in such roles the previous year.
3) More translational/clinically-oriented research. A number of people were expecting more in the bench-bedside area. More data on clinically relevant transplantation studies. More generally this is something I’ve wished for in the stem cell field.
4) More talks specifically tailored for people interested in stem cells who are not necessarily experts. More talks for patients and patient advocates. Some folks have told me they wish the annual World Stem Cell Summit, at which I have been and will be a speaker this year, had a bit more science. Conversely, they apparently wish the ISSCR meeting had more of what the Summit is so great at: putting things in broader perspectives.
5) Better Internet. This seems minor, but people were grumpy about internet connectivity at the venue this year.