The lovely city of Ljubljana in Slovenia was the perfect location for the Sixth EUSPR Conference. The city offered spectacular walks, food and cultural opportunities. I also took part in the major running event held annually where 20,000 people come to enjoy the festivities and test their endurance. It was a pleasure to be part of such an exciting, inclusive sporting event. There was inline skating, parents with prams, hand bikes and children participating, it was really something special! Thanks to Angelina Brotherhood for the last minute ticket.
Now for the academic bit…….
Before the conference began there were a series of early career workshops and I chose the writing for publication workshop. I submitted a draft article of my own and was given three others to read and comment on in a small group. The feedback I received was constructive and I will apply the recommendations from my group to my future writing. I also learned a lot from reading and critiquing other articles as this helped me to know what constituted a good article. The rest of the workshop consisted of a panel of professors who shared their experiences and gave advice of writing and submitting articles for publication. The workshop format allowed for the mixed group of students and public health practitioners to ask questions and raise concerns about choosing journals, what to include and how to structure manuscripts.
The conference over the next three days had a number of key note speakers and parallel sessions on the theme of Changing behaviour without talking: automatic processes and the regulation of behavior. The speakers offered a number of interesting stand points and for me the idea of environment and its impact on health issues such as tobacco, alcohol, food usage and crime was highly interesting. I particularly enjoyed Prof Paul van Soomeren’s talk (DSP-groep, NL) on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. I spoke with the Professor afterwards and was intrigued by the examples he gave of changes to structural architecture and space usage in Amsterdam which improved the health and safety of sex workers in the city. The other highlight for me was the discussion around the ‘Nudge’ concept and the relatively new behavioural insights team formed by government in 2005 to tackle automatic behaviour change in public policy and health. I had followed this eagerly when it was first formed and was pleased to see Hugo Harper presenting on the teams experiences so far.
The addition of the EUSPR Early Careers Forum Launch and Networking Event was a big bonus for PhD students and gave opportunity to share experiences with others and to develop the forum for the future. I presented at one of the parallel sessions which was nerve racking but a nice environment for my first conference presentation.
Overall this was a fab event and I would go again. I thank the Science for Prevention Academic Network (SPAN) for the bursary which enabled me to attend and present. I also would like to thank the organisers for making the conference so great, especially the ones from LJMU!