Kyoto, Japan: what’s happened and how I’m preparing for this one

So my next conference is in Japan. Woo!!

It was exactly a year ago when I was in San Diego attending my first conference – another international one too! I am very fortunate and at the same time, conducted the best steps in order to achieve this i.e. secured funding (more on this at a later date in another post). This conference is International Symposium on Solar Sailing 2017 (ISSS 2017).

I was first alerted by an email in July ’16 from my supervisor about this one. I didn’t know much about solar sailing but was really interested in another international conference. Where better than Japan? I’d only heard great things from friends! Writing a paper is also a great way to learn about a subject area you’re not involved in yet, but can fold your work into. The abstract deadline was in one month and just before I was leaving for a family holiday – plenty of time to look into some solar sailing literature and look for gaps I could fill with my own research. After two or three unlikely ideas, I settled on one and ended up collaborating with my colleague who works in the same area. This is a good approach in combining effort and expertise to produce an even better paper than going alone.

So, August rolls around and I send the abstract off. Great! Now I can forget about it, wait for an acceptance/rejection email, go on holiday and finish off another conference paper I’m going to present in six weeks time in Toulouse (ECSSMET 2016). It’s actually on the last day of ECSSMET conference I received an acceptance email with a letter attached from ISSS.


First of all, little fist pump and internal celebration! The organisers feel our abstract is appropriate for the scope of the conference and want to see our research. Brilliant! The abstract is analogous to a proposal or pitch. As you’ll see in the important dates, I basically had two months to sort a paper out. Doable.


We submitted the paper before the Christmas holiday (they extended the submission deadline, it’s a common occurrence that you can pretty much bet on it).

Fast forward to the time of writing this post. It’s Wednesday afternoon and we’re flying out on Saturday morning. We’re sorting out itinerary for post-conference as we decided to stay an extra week. I’ve spent this week looking at the programme and putting the presentation together. It’s definitely wise to look at who else is attending and the presentation topics. I recognise several people in attendance from within my field – I think it’s crazy I can say that now. The presentation is 12 minutes long with 3 minutes Q&A. Presenting at past conferences, for business startup pitches and competitions has prepared me well. I know the 10-odd minutes will fly by and I’ll be relaxed. My past conferences, SciTech 2016 and ECSSMET 2016 had dozens or four presenting rooms, respectively. The difference with ISSS 2017 however is that there’s just one presentation room. I’m not sure exactly but I’m now expecting in the region of a 50-100 attendees (maybe more). Who knows, but it’ll be a new experience in that respect.

All that’s on my mind is getting some new shoes and packing the suitcase. Should probably learn some basic Japanese phrases too…


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