2018 CREDC Industry Workshop impresses attendees
“The goal is the same, to connect people,” Rodrigo said. “But the goal for this year was to take a different spin on the agenda to get more interaction.”
The agenda was developed with the advice of several CREDC Industry Advisory Board (IAB) members, the hosts at MIT, and CREDC administration at the University of Illinois.
This year’s workshop had multiple panels with both academic and industry participants sharing ideas. Similar to other years, the audience was encouraged to ask questions and follow up with panelists after the sessions. In addition, there were four showcases of current academic-industry collaboration success stories.
“Some of our researchers have worked closely with industry partners and there were instances where those research activities were in the process of transitioning to industry practice so we wanted to highlight and showcase them,” Rodrigo said. “The changes to the agenda and the format were well received based on our collected feedback.”
Changes were also made to the student research poster session. Rather than traditional academic posters, students were encouraged to stick to the basics; posters were not only to feature research goals, fundamental research questions, plans and results, but also the commercial possibilities and broader potential impacts of the research. Organizers believed less technical posters and identifying clear connections with industry would encourage more discussion during the poster session and afterward.In addition to engaging with the students during the conference, industry personnel were invited to place stickers on research activities they found interesting or ones for which they felt a collaboration would be beneficial to both parties. Their contact information was then shared with the students to reach out to the industry representative to discuss ideas, collaboration, or future internship and job opportunities within the energy industry.
“One of the biggest goals was for the students and industry attendees to interact more at the poster session so the exchange of ideas would happen,” Rodrigo said. “That had a really good outcome this year and is something I want to improve on in the coming years.”
Rodrigo is also looking at how to continue to improve in other ways. For the CREDC 2019 workshop in Houston he would like to see further advancements made to the agenda and to increase attendance.
“We’re keeping the conversation going and are going to analyze the feedback for ‘lessons learned’ soon,” Rodrigo said. “We will try to formulate strategies to increase attendance, especially for industry representatives.”