It is curious to consider that the Reid Bioanalytical Forum has been running almost as long as I have been alive! I was born in 1970 and Eric Reid started the forum in 1975. The first international meeting I attended was the Reid Forum in 1997; although not called that at the time, the meeting was renamed later in recognition of Eric’s work. The meetings have been a learning experience for me right from the start. As a ‘young’ scientist just starting out it was an incredible education to sit and listen to the discussions during the day and then continuing into the social events every night. The social aspects of the meeting are legendary (in some circles) but they are a vital part of the meeting. The campus approach where everyone is together for the whole meeting with a social event every night has the effect that the meetings have a spirit and comradeship that I have not experienced at any other meeting I have attended, (although I hear the Land O’Lakes meeting is similar). Scientifically the meetings encourage the paradigm that not everything works and it has been a great place for new bioanalytical scientists like myself and many others to develop and mature (although not all of us!). I fully believe that a lot of my own behaviors and approaches have been shaped by the attendance at these meetings and I have always regretted it when, for one reason or another, I have been unable to attend. I am now involved in the organization of a second Forum and I can say it is an honor and a pleasure to work alongside the more experienced syndicate members to help continue the Forum’s long tradition.
With the coming of a 21st birthday – actually 40 years old due to the biannual running of the forum – it was only right that we look to celebrate, so there are a couple of special events being planned for this year. We will be holding a formal debate to celebrate the ad hoc debates that have been held in the lecture theater and the bar over the past 40 years. The title of the debate will be, ‘The current skills gaps in analytical sciences are failing industry – Subtitle – Focusing on bioanalytical sciences and the impact on the pharmaceutical industry’. The debate format will be to have a panel, with attendees given the chance to post questions in advance as well as interact with the panel during the debate. The panel will be made up of a broad spectrum of stakeholders; its membership will be announced at a later date. We believe that Eric would approve as he was prone to being involved in many debates over the years!
We have also added another new item this year in that we have VRS running a careers fair, with a couple of short lectures/workshops during the Wednesday lunch time, to assist both those looking for a change of career or looking to recruit. We believe, in the current ‘bioanalytical career market‘, that this will be a valuable addition to the meeting. If you would like to have a job advertised at the career fair then please contact Sarah Palfrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Involvement from the newer bioanalytical scientists is critical and we realise that funding can be very hard to secure for attendance at meetings so there are a number of bursaries available to support travel and attendance at the meeting for post graduate research scientists. If you are a student (or supervisor) in the Bioanalytical sciences and would like to apply for a bursary then please contact Ray Briggs via email (Raybriggs@tiscali.co.uk). The only requirement is that you have some appropriate work that can be presented at the meeting via a poster presentation by the attending scientist.
2015 is going to be a very interesting Forum but let’s not forget there are some great lectures lined up, as well as the other activities I have mentioned above. I am personally very excited to hear more from Zoltan Takats who gave an outstanding lecture at the last Forum (despite dislocating his shoulder in the car park on the way to give his lecture!) on his work looking at real time mass spectrometry during surgery to identify tumour tissue using the iKnife technology. This time Takats will be describing his work on imaging MS. I am also very keen to hear David Jones from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and his lecture on the current perspectives in regulated bioanalysis. Jones is an excellent speaker and I am sure his talk will be very interesting. I have been very selfish and picked the 2 I am most looking forward to but with over 40 other presentations from across the industry there will be plenty of food for thought and digestion during the social events in the evening.
If you have not attended the Forum before I hope that my discourse has persuaded you that it is something you should definitely be looking to attend this year. I look forward to meeting old friends again and making the acquaintance of new ones.
More information and registration can be found at the following link: www.chromsoc.com/ChromsocEvents.aspx.