Groups’ day at IOP generates new ideas for joint activities

30 August 2016

Around 40 members of the IOP’s special interest groups took part in a day to foster interaction across research disciplines and the event has already generated several plans for joint conferences and meetings in the near future.

Groups’ day at IOP generates new ideas for joint activities

The aim of the day was to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration between the IOP’s 48 special interest, member-led groups and to support them in planning events to explore new and emerging areas of physics.

The groups focus on a range of physics research areas and applications, industry sectors or issues of broader interest, and they were well represented at the meeting, held on 17 August at the Institute's London centre.

Part of the IOP’s strategy for strengthening physics involves encouraging collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries, so the event focused on enabling members of different groups to talk to each other and to think about where their areas of work intersect.

The day included structured networking, short “pitches” by each group representative to the whole meeting, free networking over lunch and the opportunity to ask questions. Several groups were prompted by the day to explore running some joint events next year, while others have begun thinking about joint meetings further ahead.

The Institute offers subsidies of up to £1,000 for an IOP group to run a one-day meeting or £500 for a half-day meeting, with larger amounts for multi-day events. But since analysis of these events showed that more people take part in joint conferences and meetings than attend events put on by individual groups, the IOP has decided to offer up to £1,500 a day or £750 per half-day to groups involved in organising a joint meeting.

The success of the day means that such networking events are likely to be repeated. The IOP's science support officer, Lara Maisey, said: “We were delighted to see so many lively conversations at this well-attended event. We received really positive feedback and are optimistic that new and exciting collaborations will form as a result.”