Online networking at The FORGE

Here at Malvern Panalytical we’re passionate about nurturing the talents of the next generation of visionary thinkers and creative problem-solvers. That’s why we teamed up with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Particle Characterisation Group (PCIG) to host The FORGE.   

Held on 25 March, The FORGE was a platform for Ph.D. students and early career scientists to share research. Focusing on particle characterization for pharmaceutical formulations, we asked speakers to share their research and give us an insight into what inspires them.  

When planning started in January 2020, we envisaged hosting an in-person event in the UK. Little did we know how quickly the world was about to change! Taking The FORGE virtual, and making it a free event, helped us reach a wider audience. We were joined by 24 speakers, 14 poster presenters, and over 200 attendees from 19 countries for a great day, packed full of interesting content.  

Hours of content  

Attendees had access to over eight hours of content. This included: three live streams, 23 pre-recorded talks and 14 posters with video elevator pitches. By the end of the day, a whopping 250 hours of content had been consumed! Mojtaba Ghadiri’s keynote alone racked up over 41.5 hours of viewing time.  

Of course, the stars of the show were the Ph.D  students and early career scientists who shared their research. As an added incentive to really stretch their presentation skills, the PCIG funded a prize pot of £500. The prize for Best Talk was a £300 Amazon voucher, and the Best Poster prize was a £200 Amazon voucher. 

The standard of presentation from all participants was incredibly high. To help choose the winners, I enlisted an expert judging panel to assess both the presentations and elevator pitches. Given the amount of content, this required a big commitment from our judging panel. I’m very grateful to them for their time in helping pick our winners.  

And the winners are… 

In the end, competition for the prizes was very tight. The high standard of work from all participants made judging very difficult. There were only a few points separating the top five contributors in each category. However, congratulations go to… 

Merel and Reabetswe impressed the judges with the quality of their technical content and their engaging delivery. Both are worthy winners in very tight competitions.  

The platform 

The surprise hit of the conference was the platform itself. Featuring a mobile app, live polls, community boards, and many other social features, the platform facilitated lots of networking and discussion.  

Within 30 minutes of the event starting, the discussion boards lit up as attendees took full advantage of the networking tools. We even saw some users arranging their own online meet-ups during the lunch break!  

I would like to thank all who attended: my expert judges, my plenary speakers, all the students who put in papers and abstracts, my fellow RSC PCIG committee members. Finally, I’d like to thank my colleagues Michel and Annalisa for entertaining the idea in the first place and helping me carry it off. A true team effort, thank you all! 

The FORGE 2022 

It’s been a lot of work (with a year of preparations), but we’re already missing our weekly planning meetings. Feedback from speakers and attendees was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, people are already asking us to confirm the date of the next one. Of course, we’re thinking very seriously about doing this all again in 2022 – maybe even in person, if we’re lucky. Will we see you at The FORGE 2022?  

If you didn’t make it to the event but would like to view the content, you can find it here