I am a PhD student at the University of Bristol, in my final year and on the verge of writing up my thesis. This grant covered the travel costs to attend the 2015 Gordon Research Conference in Carbohydrates, which took place at Mount Snow in Vermont, USA. The meeting was residential, with all of the attendees staying in the same hotel, eating together, and attending a single session throughout. This gave me a great opportunity to meet with the other scientists who were there, and I probably spoke to more than half of the 175 attendees.
The conference was well attended by prominent researchers in the field of glycoscience, both international and particularly from the USA. This was especially useful to me, as I am intending to pursue an academic research career after completion of my PhD, staying in the field of carbohydrates, and as a first step am looking for a post-doctoral position in America.
I presented a poster, and it served as a useful opportunity to discuss my research with a broad variety of scientists. They responded positively and I have come back with several ideas of how the research could be advance, both from these discussions and from the talks given by other researchers.
As well as making new contacts, I was able to refresh connections with several group leaders that I had met at a previous conference 18 months ago. This was particularly useful as we were able to discuss how our work has progressed. A collaborator from the US was also attending, and in fact giving a prize lecture, so it was useful to catch up with her and some of her group.
In summary, the grant gave me a great opportunity at a key point in my career to discuss my research, and to reinforce contacts and make new ones in the field.