Gordon Research Conferences Continue to Expand in Hong Kong

4 June 2015

The Gordon Research Conferences (GRCs) return to Hong Kong in 2015, with thirteen conferences and three seminars to take place in total.

GRCs are conferences set up with the intent to foster active scientific communities, with the purpose of each community being to develop an area of a scientific field from its early stages to maturity.

Many major scientific discoveries can be traced back to GRCs – including the Nucleic Acids GRC which was established over 50 years ago, and attended by Watson and Crick (see photograph above). In order to continuously support cutting-edge research, an average of 10% of GRCs each year are new, which expands the network, as scientists from different areas take part. In 2014, 46% of the 25,000 attendees were new.

Since its first Hong Kong meeting, in 2000, the GRC has enriched Hong Kong’s scientific community of established scientists and endeavours to increase its impact further – notably, by encouraging future scientific leaders to join in.

In 2012, the GRC began expansion efforts in Hong Kong, organising meetings at both the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Each year, the number of meetings and attendees has grown. In 2013, seven conferences attracted an average number of 122 attendees – a great feat, given that the maximum number of attendees at any meeting is limited to 200.

In 2014, a total of seven conferences and two seminars attracted an average attendance of 148. The number of international scientists attending Hong Kong-based GRCs has risen year-on-year, with particular interest from scientists based in North America.

Director, Nancy Ryan Gray, profited first-hand from the opportunities that the GRCs offer young scientists; as a graduate student attending her first GRC, she met leaders in her field, “finally found the courage to ask questions” and was invited to finish her PhD research in their labs – which contained the best instrumentation in the world. She relates – “The type of interactions created at Gordon Research Conferences can impact the rest of your career.”

This year, a total of 15 meetings – seven of which will be brand new – and three seminars will take place at either HKUST or CUHK. Reflecting feedback from senior scientists, the three seminars have been designed specifically with the aim to bring future scientific leaders, who are engaged in cutting-edge research, into conversation with present leaders, who will provide mentorship and will give opening presentations at these seminars.

2015 Meetings:

Genome Architecture in Cell Fate & Disease
Germinal Stem Cell Biology
Infections of the Nervous System
Marine Molecular Ecology
Marine Molecular Ecology (GRS)
Modulation of Neural Circuits & Behavior
Nano-Mechanical Interfaces
Neutron Scattering
Particle Physics
Posttranslational Modification Networks
Spin Dynamics in Nanostructures
Spin Dynamics in Nanostructures (GRS)
String Theory & Cosmology
Superconductivity (GRS)
Topological & Correlated Matter

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