ECF events at the EUSPR 2017 conference – a review

The 8th Conference and Members’ Meeting of the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) took place in Vienna, Austria from 20th to the 22nd September 2017. As in the previous year, the EUSPR Early Careers Forum (ECF) was represented at the conference with an early-careers event on every day of the conference, including:

  • a pre-conference workshop,
  • a networking event,
  • early-career parallel sessions, and
  • special awards.

As with last year, we also offered members of the ECF the possibility to participate in the abstract review process, so as to help them develop their own abstract writing skills as well as to gain insights into what happens “behind the scenes” once an abstract is submitted.

The EUSPR generously sponsored 15 bursaries to support early-career preventionists to attend the conference, as well as the pre-conference workshop and our networking event – many thanks!!

Below, we briefly report on the various activities that took place. More pictures are available from our Facebook page.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Publishing Addiction Science in Practice

This year’s conference workshop was entitled “Publishing Addiction Science in Practice” and was led by Professors Michal Miovský and Roman Gabrhelík (both at Charles University, Prague). Despite the title, the information shared in the workshop, and the skills gained were generic and useful for researchers working across different fields of prevention science.

Throughout the day Michal and Roman shared their expertise with regards to publishing in addiction journals with 20 early career researchers in two sessions. The morning session was dedicated to an interactive overview of expectancies regarding scientific articles construct. The PowerPoint can be found on the ISAJE website: http://www.isaje.net/  The afternoon was rather practical, focusing on how best to construct abstracts so to catch the reader’s attention by providing an accurate, yet compelling synopsis of the main article.

 

Early Careers Forum Networking Event

For early-career delegates a special networking event sponsored by the EUSPR Board took place one day prior to the start of the conference. The event brought together 30 early career preventionists (students, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers) from 13 different countries (Afghanistan, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Libya, Lithuania, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, UK).

The event was chaired by ECF Lead, Angelina Brotherhood and was aimed at offering the early-career delegates the opportunity to get to know each other through a structured networking activity. In addition, the event was held so that the EUSPR ECF could gather feedback from other early career members regarding their expectations for the ECF’s activity over the coming years.

The event was of particular importance, both for the first ECF committee (Angelina Brotherhood, Kimberley Hill, Dijana Jerković, Larissa Maier, and Aniek van Herwaarden) whose mandate finished this year, as well as for the new board who was introduced for the first time to the participants of the networking event (Samuel Tomczyk, Larissa Maier, Sinziana Oncioiu, Vasilka Lalevska, Elena Gervilla, Boris Chapoton, Emma Atkin-Brenninkmeyer, Clara Affun-Adegbulu and Nicole Gridley). To learn more about the roles within the ECF Committee please see EUSPR ECF committee – description of roles.

The first ECF committee (from left to right): Angelina Brotherhood, Kimberley Hill, Dijana Jerković, and Larissa Maier (© EUSPR).

Angelina Brotherhood started by presenting briefly the ECF activity since October 2016 (Activity report can be read here) and introducing the new members of the ECF board.

The new lead of the ECF, Samuel presented the main goals to be achieved by the EUSPR ECF in the next few years. He emphasized the increased visibility of the ECF, the continued nurture and support of the ECF with more professional opportunities for its members, and the encouragement of exchanges between young preventionists and the senior members of the EUSPR and prevention practitioners across Europe.

Participants then had the chance to find out more about their fields of interests and expectations regarding the future of prevention science by reflecting on what they believed would be the “hot topics” in prevention research over the next 5 years, and the possible ways in which they wish ECF to develop over the next year.

Attendees at the EUSPR ECR networking event (© EUSPR).

 

Early Careers Parallel Sessions

This year we received a bumper edition of abstracts submitted to the early-career theme – a further increase on those received last year! As a result, four separate parallel sessions for early career preventionists were organised and some presentations were included in the regular programme. An overview of the content of the four ECF parallel sessions is provided below:

Session 1 started with a presentation from Alexandra Morales who described the adaptation process of a school-based sexual health promotion intervention so that it can be used with adolescents living in shelters in Spain. Adaptations of the programme as currently ongoing with a pilot study planned for the near future.

Dawn Owen was the second speaker to the floor who presented findings from her PhD which sought to evaluate a 10-week web based parenting programme, designed for parents of children aged 3 to 8 years, living in Wales. The results suggested some promise of the programme for enhancing parent-child interactions but further work on programme development is required to ensure that users adhere to programme content.

Luke Midgley was up next, and presented findings from a cross-sectional survey which sought to measure the relationship between risk to drug use and substance misuse policies in a population of students attending schools in Wales. Results indicated that whilst substance misuse policies are common practice, they have little impact on student cannabis use.

Finally, Nadja Springer concluded the first parallel session by introducing the subject of her PhD; to investigate the impact of a 16-week group intervention on mentalisation processes within a population of foster children from drug abusing families. Nadja explained that the PhD was in its infancy with results being disseminated in due course.

Presenters from the Early Careers Parallel Session 1 (from left to right): Dawn Owen, Alexandra Morales, Luke Midgley and Nadja Springer (© EUSPR).

Session 2 started with a presentation from Isabel Auer who outlined her Master’s thesis; Mapping technology-related interventions for overcoming language barriers in medical care for refugees – a scoping review. Isabel described the rationale behind the study and her search strategy. Her thesis is due for completion in 2018.

Mirta Vranko took the floor for the second presentation of the session. Mirta outlined her plan for her PhD thesis which seeks to establish the role of resilience in moderating outcomes in depression due to risk factors. The PhD is in its infancy and findings will be available in due course.

Nicole Gridley was the third speaker of the session and introduced a pilot randomised controlled trial which seeks to establish the impact of a brief parenting programme, designed for parents of children aged 3 to 5 years old, on child language development and the home learning environment in the UK. Findings from the trial will be available from 2020.

Laura Castillo Eito was the fourth speaker and outlined her plans for her PhD which seeks to establish the impact of a brief intervention to reduce aggression in a sample of high risk adolescents in the UK. Findings from Laura’s PhD will be available in the near future.

The final speaker of Session 2 was Johanna Bunner who presented her plans for assessing the varying impact of different levels of safety training on accident severity recorded within industry. The project has only just begun and findings will be disseminated in due course.

The abstracts from Sessions 1 and 2 can be found here.

Presenters from the Early Careers Parallel Session 2 (from left to right): Nicole Gridley, Laura Castillo Eito, Isabel Auer and Johanna Bunner (© EUSPR).

Session 3 started with a presentation from Maria, Joanna and Kinga Wojcieszek who described the initial findings from a study evaluating the realisation of a new brief educational programme called Jungle via three adult groups. Maria suggested that further evaluation of the programme is required, as is preparation of the programme for further implementation.

Elisabeth Vargo was the second speaker of Session 3. Elisabeth described her study which sought to explore and performance and image enhancing substance use amongst adolescents engaged in leisure activities in Europe. Findings suggest that body image preoccupation plays a significant role in performance and image enhancing substance use.

Presenters from the Early Careers Parallel Session 3 (from left to right): Maria, Joanna and Kinga Wojcieszek (© EUSPR).

Session 4 started with a presentation from Sanela Talic who described the results of a study looking at the effectiveness of a universal school-based preventative programme from alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Previous evaluations have indicated that the programme is effective is achieving its goals yet further pilot work and process evaluation is required.

Boris Chapoton was second to the floor in Session 4 presenting his findings from a survey of facebook use on unhealthy behaviours. Exploratory analysis indicated that the number of friends correlated to respondents positive and negative behaviours.

Kathy-Ann Fox was the third speaker of the session presenting her findings from a longitudinal study of alcohol related attitudes, behaviours and perceived norms amongst a population of adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years old. Findings indicated inconsistencies between self-reported and peer-reported perceived drinking behaviour of close friends and peers.

Christina Kien presented next providing the audience with an overview of her study which sought to identity teacher and implementation process characteristics which may impact on the outcomes for children participating in a school-based health promotion programme. Using qualitative comparative analysis results indicated several pathways which explained pathways to success.

The final speaker of all the early careers parallel sessions was Elena Gervilla who presented her findings from a study which sought to establish the relationship between alcohol concentration and perception of drunkenness in a young adult population. Results indicated that alcohol concentration predicts perception of drunkenness in both genders, although the number of people in a group not drinking plays a significant role.

The abstracts from Sessions 3 and 4 can be found here.

Presenters from the Early Careers Parallel Session 4 (from left to right): Christina Kien, Elena Gervilla, Sanela Talic, Boris Chapoton and Kathy-Ann Fox (© EUSPR).

 

Feedback from Chairing an Early Career Parallel Session at the EUSPR conference

The early career parallel sessions also provided the opportunity for four of our early career delegates to experience chairing a session. We’d like to thank Alexandra Morales, Dijana Jerković, Clara Affun-Adegbulu and Boris Chapoton for guiding the parallel sessions in a friendly and competent manner! New ECF lead Samuel caught up with each of the chairs at the end of their sessions to gain an insight into what the process was like for them. Samuel provides his summary here:

Chairing a session at a scientific conference can be nerve-wracking: Be on time, be well prepared, be confident, and be able to lead discussions while keeping an eye on the clock. Most early career chairs get nervous before their session. They feel the need to know as much as possible about all of the authors and presentations and they hope that nobody will question their abilities or humiliate them by asking questions that are nearly impossible to answer or are still in heated debates within the scientific community. On top of that, they often fear losing control over time and not being able to structure the sessions as they planned. However, the feeling is mutual for early career researchers presenting their research in front of others for the first time. Switching perspectives can be a relief, which is why the early career sessions are the perfect place to practice. Sharing insecurities, questions, and fears provides a great bonding experience and allows early career people to talk among peers. This year’s early career sessions covered topics from prevention programmes concerning sexual health or aggressive behaviour to investigations of mechanisms and policy determinants of substance use. Target groups comprised children, teachers, parents, workers, and even schools or organisations as separate entities. Most of the presentations were very well thought out and of high methodical quality. It was easy to feel – and share – the passion the young researchers brought to their projects, even if their results did not always support their hypotheses. Additionally, the sessions were full of energy, which proved to be challenging at times of heated discussions. Keeping track of the time, calming the room, and improvising, e.g. when a presentation or a speaker is not present, are among the core skills of a chairperson. Consequently, it is the perfect opportunity to prepare future endeavours in prevention practice and research. Overall, chairing was a challenging but entertaining and beneficial experience.

 

Early Career Researcher Award

At the EUSPR Annual Conference, awards are given to early-career preventionists for outstanding promise based on a paper or poster presentation at the conference. This year, the award went to Alexandra Morales.

Congratulations Alexandra!

Winner of the Early Career Researchers Prize: Alexandra Morales (© EUSPR).

 

Final Thank You’s

Finally, we would like to acknowledge and thank the following early-career members and friends of the EUSPR for their support with this year’s ECF conference events, in particular:

  • Angelina Brotherhood
  • Nicole Gridley
  • Dijana Jerković
  • Kimberley Hill
  • Larissa Maier

 In addition, thanks to all delegates and presenters who attended and contributed to our sessions and helped make the conference a success! Hoping to see you all again next year!

If you wish to get involved with the Early Careers Forum, please get in touch.


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