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The CALS Financial Support Program for Overseas Conference Presentations

2018-07-16l Hit 231

 


The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Seoul National University (SNU) affords a variety of programs aiming to bolster student capacities. While some programs are targeted specifically at undergraduate students, others cater to the academic and financial needs of graduate students. For instance, financial support is provided for grad students who wish to present their research findings at overseas academic events. The CALS Financial Support Program for Overseas Conference Presentations was first introduced in 2016, and has since been receiving applications every semester.

 

CALS Students currently taking a master’s program or combined master’s and doctorate program, including those who have received their degrees, are eligible. To apply for this year’s first-semester program, applicants must have planned to attend a conference held abroad, organized by an overseas organization, before September. Each candidate’s presentation plan goes through a document screening process, during which factors such as the applicant’s purpose for application, his or her determination, and future research plans are taken into account. Priority is given to those that demonstrate the relevance of the presentation or the student’s degree of research competency. Those who pass the document screening then receive a subsidy, which varies according to the location and duration of the academic event.

 

Daehyun Jung, a PhD student in Biosystems Engineering, is one of the students selected for the program. At present, Jung is investigating ways to implement hybrid environmental control systems in greenhouses using AI algorithms in Professor Hak Jin Kim’s Biosystems Control & Automation Laboratory.

 

Jung recalled how he “wanted to receive feedback on my work from fellow researchers, but I had trouble with covering the expenses.” Fortunately, through the program, Jung was able to attend a CIGR(Commission Internationale du Génie Rural) 2018 conference hosted by the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, which brings in researchers in his field from top-tier universities worldwide. This year’s conference dealt with the overarching theme of “Sustainable Life for Children.”

 

Having the chance to present your current studies and develop new collaborations with experts, developers, and scholars alike make such presentations all the more impactful. However, as rewarding as it is, preparing an oral research presentation requires a great deal of commitment and perseverance. It will take at least six months, or even an entire year, to plan and structure it; naturally, not having to worry about the related expenses would lift the weight off anyone’s shoulders. This is exactly what the CALS support program does, as Jung remarks that “the program simultaneously solved the problems of handling the costs and managing my time.”

Jung believes the main advantage of joining an international symposium is the opportunity to absorb new concepts and findings pertinent to your field of interest. In fact, one can identify the research topics, processes, or technologies that are prevalent in the subject area just by reading through the list of speakers and brief overview of each presentation. Yet, what really compelled him to participate was the close link between his research topic and that of CIGR 2018. It is not uncommon to find a few presenters who have conducted research on similar topics, in which case you can share opinions and discuss other topics of significance. After finishing your thesis presentation, other researchers may come up and ask a few questions or give some nuggets of advice. As such, Jung was able to approach his research from different angles through the enlightening discussions he had with others.

Answering what benefits international conferences have over domestic ones, Jung responded “Their different objectives especially the people who organize and participate greatly influence” the benefits each have to offer. When it comes to conferences or workshops held in Korea, he has noticed that they tend to have a stiff atmosphere, due to the emphasis put on the presentations themselves. International conferences focus more on the questions and debates that follow the presentations, so the level of pressure on the speaker is comparatively lower.

 

After his experience at the CIGR 2018 conference, Jung hopes to attend Greensys 2019: The International Symposium on Advanced Technologies and Management for Innovative Greenhouses. Additionally, he plans to continue preparing for overseas conferences whenever the opportunity to participate arises.

We hope that Jung’s story, and his resolve to continue reaching higher ever higher, can motivate other students to look into the CALS academic and financial support programs.

In conclusion, Jung recommended the CALS student community at SNU to be proactive in finding the right capacity building programs (1), to take full advantage of the plethora of resources the college has to provide. For those thinking of applying for this particular program, choosing the academic event you wish to participate in before starting the application process will allow you to develop a clearer focus, thereby increasing your chances of selection. Especially in the process of preparing an academic paper presentation, which is no easy feat to accomplish alone, making use of any of the programs can act as the starting point to achieving your dreams.

We hope that Jung’s story, and his resolve to continue reaching higher ever higher, can motivate other students to look into the CALS academic and financial support programs.

 

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(1)

http://cals.snu.ac.kr/en/campuslife/activity/programs


By Sin Won Kim, Sanghee Gu, Soo Yeon Hong
Student reporters, CALS