What made this fourth edition of the ECTH conference so special? Certainly the smiling faces of the participants. Because they had seen each other only on screens for two years. Therefore people listened with full attention to the live-lectures on the ICC stage in Ghent. Four speakers were lined up in the Science, Fast & Furious session: TED-style research showcases.

Traditionally, I have the honour to coach these elite troops on their adventurous assignment. Certainly a serious business, because these PhD’s and Postdocs don’t have much experience with speaking in front of a packed conference hall. Nevertheless, in Ghent over 300 experts were in the room to witness the SFF-rodeo.

ECTH2021 Ghent ICC conference

Of course no speaker was thrown out of the saddle. Because we spend weeks in advance working on this assignment. Firstly the speakers tried to squeeze three or four years of top research into a story of ten minutes. Therefore you have to master the art of omission. Secondly the slides were designed and added as illustrations to the story line.

three years in ten minutes

The four speakers were (from left to right on the picture): Carlos Bravo-PerezCélina MadjeneMartina Colicchia and Shannen Deconinck. All of them from different universities and selected for this event from a large group of successful researchers. The presentation training was mainly done remotely, via Teams. After that the final touches were made in Ghent.

The training focuses mainly on the content of the speech. In other words: how can you explain complicated processes in a way, that everyone can understand them? That method always evokes sparkling eyes. Meanwhile the speech is prepared with enthusiasm. And therefore viewed with fascination.

viewed with fascination

The audience represents specialists in the field of homeostasis or coagulation, but also in the domain of platelets and vascular wall disorders. How to captivate such a variety of spectators? Above all, the SFF contributors manage to do so every edition. As a result it has become one of the highlights of the conference.

happy Martina Colicchia with her professor