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The European Respiratory Society (ERS) has an active and growing community of respiratory professionals who are in the early stages of their career within our Society’s membership. We are committed to supporting early career members to reach their potential by providing opportunities that are tailored to the needs of professionals at the start of their career, which are supported by the important contributions of the ERS Early Career Member Committee.
During the virtual ERS Congress, we maintain this commitment by offering training, networking opportunities and professional development guidance for early career members, alongside the exciting scientific sessions on offer.
Niki Ubags is Chair of the ERS Early Career Member Committee and is the early career representative for the ERS Basic and translational sciences assembly.
She is a senior scientist within the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Her research interests include host-microbe interactions in the onset and progression of respiratory diseases and the effects of dietary intake on immune function and consequent development of respiratory diseases.
Q: What makes the ERS Congress unique for early career professionals?
A: Following the success of last year’s event, the virtual ERS International Congress is the ideal platform for early career professionals to share their research findings and interact with fellow respiratory professionals. Attending the ERS Congress provides a unique opportunity to learn from experts in the field about hot topics and the latest new advancements in respiratory medicine. Attendance of the ERS congress also provides early career professionals with the possibility to enhance their professional skills in different formats, including skills labs, lungs on fire and challenging clinical cases.
Networking opportunities are very important for early career professionals, and these have been quite limited over the past year as we have not been able to meet in person. The virtual nature of this year’s event will allow Early Career Members, who may not always be able to travel to the ERS Congress, to attend the whole conference and interact with their peers and experts in the field via the online platform. The Congress offers opportunities for early career professionals to be actively involved in the sessions and provides an interactive platform that will benefit our early career professionals.
Q: What can early career professionals expect to gain from taking part in this year’s Congress?
A: If you want to be up to date on the activities of your assembly, make sure to attend the assembly meetings, which will take place in the weeks leading up to the Congress. This is a great opportunity to get to know your Assembly leadership and to get involved with the assembly activities as an Early Career Member.
The symposium ‘Keys to success in science’ (Tuesday 7 September, 16:30–18:00) is dedicated to Early Career Members and will discuss opportunities for ECMs to become involved in ERS activities. During this session, we will also award the Early Career Member Award, after which the awardee will provide the Mina Gaga Lecture. At the end of the session, there will be an opportunity to ask any questions related to the ECM Committee.
The interactive platform provides ample virtual networking opportunities for Early Career professionals. Make sure to participate in the discussions and consider starting one yourself on a scientific or clinical topic in your field. To enhance networking opportunities, there will be a possibility to participate in round table discussions on topics of interest to Early Career Professionals, including career development.
Q: In your opinion, what will be the popular topics for early career professionals at this year’s Congress, and what will be a particular highlight for you?
A: The 2021 virtual ERS congress will provide excellent scientific symposia on a wide variety of basic, translational, and clinical topics and advancements. In addition, the current pandemic has highlighted the importance for respiratory medicine as a whole, and the planned sessions on all aspects of SARS-CoV2 will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge between experts in the field and all our Early Career Professionals who have been very important in fighting this disease.
The Early Career Member session (Tuesday 7 September, 16:30–18:00 CEST) is a highlight for me, as we provide an overview of ‘Keys to success in science’ for our Early Career Members. In addition, we will hand out the Early Career Member Award to an excellent ECM who has significantly contributed to respiratory Medicine. I also very much enjoy the positive energy coming from in depth discussions during poster and oral communication sessions, and I look forward to meeting you and the interaction with you as an Early Career Professional during one of these sessions.
The ERS Early Career Committee has planned a live symposium for early career professionals, ‘Keys to success in science’, scheduled for Tuesday 7 September from 16:30–18:00.