The results are in! Participant feedback on #3rdNEST

The results are in!

The #3rdNEST conference feedback results are in! Let’s take a peek at what participants thought worked well…  and what can be done better at the #4thNEST in 2019.

In all, 43 out of the 64 participants gave feedback on our survey. Overall, conference participants were satisfied with the content and organization of the conference, with an average 4.6 rating out of a maximum of 5 points. 42 respondents said the conference met their expectations almost or fully, giving it a 4 or 5 point rating (see figure below).

NEST event met expectations

Participants were also satisfied with the scope of the event (88% said the scope was neither too broad or to narrow, but just right). Considering the amount of participants at the conference, 91% responded that the size of the event was just right, and 81% thought we should keep the event at a similar size next year (even though this means rejecting applicants, such as was already the case with about a third of the applications we received this year).

Looking at feedback received during participants’ own presentations, the majority of respondents were satisfied with both the quality of the feedback, and the amount of feedback received (see figure below). However, a respondent noted that it would be good for “students to shorten their presentations to max 10 minutes, since all of us profit most from the feedback”.

NEST satisfied with feedback

Considering a possible conference fee, opinions were divided: 58% were against a possible conference fee, and 42% in favor of it. Some comments on this question included that

– “if there is a conference fee, there should be bursaries as well”

– “perhaps a participation fee [would be good], with an option to waive this fee for participants who will not get this fee reimbursed by their institutes”

– “the key here is to look at the less financed PhDs and their preconditions for attending. That should steer, not views from privileged [PhD candidates]”.

About half of the respondents said they would definitely recommend the event to colleagues, giving it a 10/10 for this question. The other half of the respondents rated this question from 6 to 9 out of the 10 possible points (see figure below).

NEST likely to recommendRespondents heard about #3rdNEST from a variety of sources, though most from colleagues or the STRN newsletter (see figure below).

NEST how did you year about event

Things to improve at #4thNEST

Respondents were not that satisfied with the organization of the individual sessions, commenting that “it might be worth thinking about distinct pathways and a more structured programme if the conference continues to grow”, and asking organizers to “use topics for abstract submission [because] many sessions were set up in a very weird way”. This is clearly a topic for #4thNEST organizers to improve upon!

Regarding social events, participants rated the social program an average of 4.3 out of 5 possible points. A respondent suggested that “perhaps some more breaks and some kind of organized networking would have been good”. Additionally, 40 Euros was considered much too high of a fee for the conference dinner by most participants. The sit-down aspect of the dinner was also seen negatively, with a respondent suggesting that “in the conference dinner it is important to rotate people from one table to another, [perhaps] with some ‘ice breaker’ type of activities”.

The workshop part of the conference received mixed reviews depending on which workshop participants were rating. However, an overall feedback was that the workshops, although valuable, were too short and possibly did not meet people’s expectations as well as they might have. This is another area #4thNEST organizers can work on to improve the conference.

A big THANK YOU to the #3rdNEST participants for their active participation in giving conference feedback! Next year’s conference organizers are using this information to make #4thNEST even more successful than the previous events.

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