BioTalks: Biokemisk Forening’s new Event Calender for Bio-Events

Publiceret Januar 2011

Ever missed a talk you would have loved to hear because you only learned about it after it had already taken place? We have, and Biokemisk Forening is therefore proud to present a solution to the problem: an open, nation-wide event calender for bio-oriented public talks, seminars, conferences, symposia and the like. Meet your new favorite link: BioTalks.dk

What is it?

BioTalks.dk is an event calender listing all public events (symposia, conferences, seminars, talks, presentations, etc.) within the biological sciences. The goals is to create a one-stop-shop for information on talks to supplement the considerable efforts being put into forwarding emails from colleagues about events. No fee, login or membership is required. It is created by Biokemisk Forening, hosted online at www.biotalks.dk and offered free to everyone for the benefit of science at large. All we ask of you is to post information about your events and to help promote the culture of sharing science.

How does it work?

BioTalks.dk is a cronological calender showing bio-events from today and roughly a month into the future. You can expand the calender futher into the future (link at the bottom) as well as go back in time to see past events. The talks are colored by the area they are happening in:

Blue: Copenhagen area (includes all of Sjælland)

Green: Odense area (includes Fyn and Sønderjylland)

Red: Aarhus area (includes Midtjylland)

Orange: Aalborg area (includes Nordjylland)

Yellow: Malmö area (includes Malmö and Lund)

If the coloring is not enough, there is a little drop-down menu next to the print button (yes, you can print it too), which allows you to filter the events to show only those for an area of interest (see screenshot).

Clicking an event expands the view to show additional information such as abstract, links to the organisers homepage or contanct information. The location information is automatically integrated to Google Maps. Just write the adresse and the calender creates a link to it (see screenshot).

What types of events?

BioTalks.dk is intended for public events dealing with topics in the biological sciences. The events could be single talks/presentations, symposia, seminars, conferences, PhD defenses, etc. Only criteria is that it an open event; it doesn’t make sense to advertise an event unless guests are welcome J. The event does not have to be free but remember to mention if registration is required. We are rather open to topics as long as they are related to the biological and biomedical sciences. For instance, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, biomedicine, genetics, drug discovery, biotechnology, or systems biology.

How to put events in?

To put talks in, you have to become a registered administrator of one or more of the area specific calenders. We recommend selecting a single (or a few) designated people at your institute or research centre to update the calender with the events organized by your organization. We have found that many organizations (for instance, Kræftense Bekæmpelse, BRIC, CPR, etc.) already have this role set up for updating their own on-line page with events. We already have several of these key contributors (typically the Institute/department secretaries, personal assistants, etc.) on board. And we are waiting for your input too!

The Inspiration

The idea originated more than 5 years from the inspiring environment at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg where we we have both worked. EMBL is a very vibrant international environment humming with leading edge research in Molecular Biology. Apart form doing great research, however, they were also great at sharing it. They had a system where all the group leaders (Principle Investigators) took turns at presenting their research and the rest of the staff-scientists, post docs and PhD students frequently gave talks too. An additional stream featured invited distinguished speakers, and there was a culture of asking guest visiting EMBL (e.g. collaborators) to also give a talk. All the talks were neatly organized in a big table available to everyone. The result? You could attend research presentations, often of the highest quality, 2-3 times a week and it was like living next to a conference venue all year long. The same type of culture exists at many other high-end institutions like Harvard and MIT.

What we are trying to achieve

Denmark is rich in research groups, institutes, and research centres within the biological sciences who organize exciting public lectures and presentations. There are plenty of interesting talks to attend but many of us lack to overview of what is available. If we can create better transparency in this “market” we belive that we can promote a culture of knowledge sharing and inspiration that will benefit the bio-sciences in Denmark.

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