Authored by: Phil Chadwick
Published on: Jan 08, 2014
Last August we sent every BEMS member a request for proposals for BioEM2014 plenary sessions and workshops. We had a great response, with more than 15 ideas put forward.
We also asked, in the autumn, for members' ideas on how to shape the future of our Society. We had a very good response indeed to that request and we are still looking through all the responses, some of which were very detailed. We will report back on the overall conclusions soon, but one thing that did stand put was that many people saw the future of the Society as highly integrated with the future of the annual scientific meeting – which is probably not a great surprise – and many of the suggestions concerned the format, content and direction of future meetings. Because of that, I shared the (anonymised) comments from members with the other members of the Technical Programme Committee so that we could take them into consideration for the BioEM2014 programme. The Meeting Quality Survey from BioEM2013 also informed our decision-making.
As you know, abstract submissions are open from 6 January until the end of February. It's not possible to set the final shape of the meeting until all the abstracts have been refereed and assembled into coherent sessions, but at this stage I can tell you about the plenary and workshop proposals and about our general approach to the meeting, and some of the themes we have tried to pursue. Even on those, not everything is yet decided and not all speakers, fully-confirmed at the time of writing, so for now we will give topics and not final speaker names.
First of all, we were keen to not have plenary sessions or workshops that were similar to ones held at recent BioEM or BEMS meetings, and we also wished to avoid stealing ideas already under consideration by the TPC chairs for BioEM2015. In response to member comments, we wanted some emphasis on taking forward, into clinical applications or policy, ideas that have been discussed at BEMS and BioEM meetings over the years.
Secondly, we have chosen to have fewer invited/plenary sessions than in some years. We will be retaining the Hot Topic (to be announced nearer the meeting date) and we expect a d'Arsonval Lecture. Our view is that four more plenaries, each with one speaker, is enough and may give in-depth coverage of a topic with plenty of time for discussion. We have planned three (or possibly four – this is still open) workshops. This should allow more time in the programme for submitted papers, and allow more people who want a platform presentation to get one. It almost is never possible to satisfy all such requests when a balanced programme is planned, but we will try to do what we can. There will be more time for discussion of submitted papers also.
Thirdly, we explicitly encourage early-career scientists from Africa and other less economically-advantaged regions to submit abstracts.. There will be bursaries available to support these scientists (though the details are not yet decided) and we have planned an early-morning introductory tutorials on aspects of Bioelectromagnetics for each day for scientists who receive bursaries (and of course anyone else who is interested).
In outline, the programme features:
- Endogenous voltage gradients as mediators of cell-cell communication
- Effects of EMF on flora and fauna
- Electrical impedance tomography/neurophysiology
- Microwave breast imaging
- Hot Topic (TBD)
- D'Arsonval Lecture
- New avenues in epidemiological exposure assessment
- Telephony in low and middle income countries
- Ethical and anthropological issues in Bioelectromagnetics research
(plus possibly one other)
- EMF biological and health effects
- Sources, levels of exposure & standards
- Overview of 50 years of laboratory, animal & human studies
The rest is up to you. Please don't forget to submit your abstract as soon as possible. We really do rely on submitted platform and poster presentations to make a great meeting.
The author, Philip Chadwick, is BEMS Technical Programme Committee co-Chair 2014