Summary and replay of the 5th IAHR Coffee Chat | Tips and Tricks for Networking at Conferences

5th IAHR Coffee Chat

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The 5th IAHR Coffee Chat for young professionals took place on the International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June 2023. The event was organised by Isabella Schalko from ETH Zurich and the IAHR task force on Strengthening Diversity and Gender Equity.

The general idea of the coffee chats is to bring together young professionals with established engineers and researchers to discuss career-related topics with a special focus on women.  

This coffee chat focused on how to network at conferences including inputs from two panelists. Ana Maria da Silva, Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada, and Catherine Wilson, Deputy Director of the Hydro-environmental Research Centre as well as a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Hydraulics at Cardiff University, UK, provided tips and tricks on how to network. About 30-40 people attended the event and sent questions in advance. The event served as a preparation for the upcoming 40th IAHR World Congress in Vienna. 

The event started with a short introduction by the panelists and was followed by a moderated discussion. The discussion included questions such as “how was your experience during your first IAHR conference?”, “how did you manage to make meaningful connections?”, to “how to start discussing with a group of researchers?”. The panelists emphasized that a well-prepared presentation provides a great opportunity to make connections. In addition, situations such as waiting in line for coffee can be seen as a chance to connect with other researchers. The discussion topics should vary depending on the specific situation and a more generic question may help to kick-off the conversation instead of starting with detailed technical questions. It was further recommended to attend the meetings of the IAHR Technical Committees, which take place on Sunday, August 20, to get to know specific researchers, or approach specific people by inviting them to your talk.  

If you missed the panel discussion you can watch it online

The next coffee chat is planned in person (for the first time) on Monday, 21 August from 1 to 2 PM (CEST) during the IAHR World Congress in Vienna. The topic is “Together we are IAHR” and we will brainstorm ideas on how to make IAHR more inclusive, while eating Viennese Sachertorte. We are looking forward to meeting many of you in person! 

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