After meeting at a conference in 1972 in Hawaii, while walking on the beach and sharing sandwiches, Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer decided to combine their research efforts. They managed to create a recombinant DNA molecule and the first genetically modified organisms.
In a series of experiments, between 1972 and 1974, the two scientists and their colleagues, at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco built on the work of recombinant DNA pioneers such as Paul Berg to develop techniques that would form the basis of recombinant DNA technology. These experiments helped spur the birth of the biotechnology industry.
Fifty years later, a highly valued conference on DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity was successfully held in Sofia, Bulgaria, May 25-27, 2022. This conference was the first and unique of its kind as a topic addressing DNA barcoding biodiversity studies not only for Bulgaria but for Eastern Europe. The event was a great achievement for BULCode project, aimed at promoting biodiversity studies in Bulgaria through DNA barcoding technologies and establishing collaboration networks in the field. The BULCode project was financially supported by the new National program “European Scientific Networks” 2020-2022 governed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria with main partners: Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics (IPPG) – coordinator, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research (IBER), Bulgaria and University of Helsinki (FIN-UH), Finland. Our team have been very proud to be part of the project!
Your conference organization was really professional. All worked well and I liked very much being in Sofia. Thank you very much for your hospitality and generosity. Dr. Marko Mutanen (University of Oulu, Finland)
In-person conferences remain standard fare for scientists, even in these difficult times. Technology has not been able to replace fully the eye contact, undivided attention and spontanious interactions that happen in real life. Quite often, the most important interactions happen after the presentations, when everyone mingles and talks to new people. At conferences, scientists get exposed to ideas. Technology is an enabler to make them more efficient.
Our conference on DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity was in hybrid format – some of the participants were present in the halls of Park Hotel Moskva in Sofia, while the rest of them participated online from their home countries. The result was a very fruitful scientific work and exchange of ideas.
I enjoyed the conference so much that I could feel the vibes without attending the conference in person. Well done. Andhika Prasetyo (Centre for Fisheries Research, AMFRAHR-MMAF, Republic of Indonesia)
Scientific conferences are an important part of the activities of majority of researchers. They are venues for presenting new research and receiving intermediate feedback. The conferences have been growing in importance as knowledge dissemination channels.
Congratulations for successful and smooth conduct of ICDBB22! I really enjoyed and imbibed lot of science through this conference!!! Nithaniyal Stalin (St. Joseph’s College, India)
On the other side, organising a successful international conference is a demanding task. There are many issues to be dealt with and neglecting or not paying enough attention to each of them can lower the event success or even ruin it completely. Organising a conference is a task many researchers face at different stages in their careers. PhD students and young researchers are often involved as supporting staff. Experienced researchers are involved in reviewing papers, chairing sessions and handling invitations of speakers. While the leading management staff chair the conferences, serve as members of the scientific committees and also get involved in the venue planning, management and decision making. All those roles demand, beside the high dedication, also scientific know-how and experience.
And here comes the inestimable role of the professional congress organizer (CME Ltd) as a partner.
Our team has been seen in action in 2021 by the researchers from Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics (IPPG), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, with the leading role of Assist. Prof. Georgi Bonchev and Prof. Valya Vassileva. They invited us straight off to bid for an organizer of the planned closing conference of the BULCode project and later on we started the preparations together.
Тhank you so much for organizing this conference and for the excellent program of speakers. Prof. Paul Hebert (Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Canada)
The main issues were as usual: where and when to organise the conference, targeting the right audience, appointing plenary speakers, attracting both key advanced scientists and young promising researchers. Appropriate decisions had to be made on oral/poster selections, the number and structure of the parallel sessions, proceedings and follow-up special issues in journals with impact factors.
All issues have been solved in collaboration with the team of Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics with utmost trust and mutual respect.
Other important figures with great contribution to the success of the conference were the members of the International Organizing committte – Assoc. Prof. Kalina Ananieva, Assoc. Prof. Ina Aneva, Prof. Svetlana Bancheva, Assist. Prof. Irina Boycheva, Prof. Helena Korpelainen, Assist. Prof. Vasilissa Manova, Assoc. Prof. Roumiana Vassilevska-Ivanova, Dr. Eero Vesterinen, Assist. Prof. Vladimir Vladimirov, Dr. Helena Wirta.
Thank you so much for the organization!!! Impressive work from the ICT, the organizing and scientific committees! Gontran Sonet (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium)
Pensoft Publishers were the publishing and communication partner and contributed to the public dissemination of the conference and presented scientific data.
The conference has brought together about 170 people including on-site and online presenters and listeners from 40 countries. Great talks and posters, great people! Eminent researchers involved in DNA barcoding studies had the chance to meet face-to-face, to enjoy fruitful discussions, planning of further collaborations activities and to have a lot of fun during the conference. The 3-days scientific program ended with a fabulous Bulgarian folk-style dinner with dances!
Thank you very much for the films and photos, and above all – for organizing such a great conference. It’s been a long time since I attended such a well-organized conference, full of fantastic lectures and a friendly atmosphere. Bulgaria is wonderful – I will come back for sure. Dr Katarzyna Janik-Superson (University of Lodz, Poland)
So, we tend to think that it will not be very popular in the foreseeable future for research conferences and meetings to be organised just virtually, despite all the pandemic challenges. The delegates who are mainly academics would like to exchange their research results, which can be easily made online; however, they also put a strong emphasis on networking. Remote communication in many cases lowers the efficiency of the discussions or eliminates them completely.
The rapidly growing number of new emerging conferences and the growing number of delegates for traditional conferences support this evaluation. The human contact with mutual confidence and deep collaboration makes successful networking, at least for the present generations. The situation may change when young generations using the social media rather than personal contacts would take over. However, if and when this is going to happen is difficult to predict.